Independent Journal Review:
For the first time in 14 years, Oregon voters elected a Republican to a state office, but there’s a bit more to the story than simply a surprising win in a deep blue state.
Lawmaker Dennis Richardson, a respected, though losing, candidate for Oregon governor in 2014, came back to defeat well-known Democrat, Brad Avakian, in the race for Secretary of State.
Avakian is the state bureaucrat who went after the business of the Christian bakers, Sweetcakes by Melissa in 2013. The owners, Melissa and Aaron Klein, refused to create a wedding cake for a lesbian couple. Though the bakery served gay customers, the couple believed that by participating in the wedding ceremony, they were condoning the marriage, which conflicted with their Christian beliefs.
Avakian’s Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) went after the Kleins, resulting in them being forced to close their business.
Aaron Klein tells Independent Journal Review that the state garnished their bank accounts and assets to satisfy a $135,000 fine. In all, he says, the state took $144,000 from them.
Oregon political analyst, Rob Kremer, told Independent Journal Review that Avakian campaigned on the idea that he would use the Secretary of State’s office to further his progressive political agenda and — surprisingly — that turned off a lot of Oregon’s liberal voters:
“I think people in Oregon were uncomfortable with Avakian’s stated objective of expanding the scope of the Secretary of State’s office to broaden a progressive agenda.
While I don’t think the Sweetcakes by Melissa case was the only thing that turned off voters, it was certainly an example people could point to to show that he was abusing his authority.”
Voters weren’t the only ones turned off. Avakian didn’t receive one major state newspaper endorsement during the race.
I support gay marriage. I also support the right of people who believe that gay marriage is wrong to not support gay marriage. It’s a big country, and there is room for different points of view. Live and let live.
Progs, on the other hand, think any dissent must be rooted out and punished.