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GOP candidate Monica Wehby comes out in favor of gay marriage

A campaign ad for Monica Wehby, a GOP candidate in Oregon running for Senate, features a former plaintiff in the lawsuit against the state's gay marriage ban.
Dr. Monica Wehby greets supporters at the headquarters in Oregon City, May. 20, 2014.
Dr. Monica Wehby greets supporters at the headquarters in Oregon City, May. 20, 2014.

A Republican Senate candidate from Oregon has come out in support of marriage equality.

Monica Wehby released an ad Tuesday in which she appears next to one of the gay plaintiffs who has sued the state over its ban on same-sex marriages.

The 30-second TV spot features footage from the marriage of Ben West and Paul Rummell, one of the couples that filed a lawsuit against the Beaver State for its gay marriage ban. West urges fellow residents to support Wehby because, as he says, she demonstrated the courage to do "what's right" and will continue to fight for every family in Oregon.

Wehby and West appear together, smiling, near the end of the ad, which was shared exclusively with Politico before its release on Tuesday.

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The Republican's endorsement of gay marriage comes as she continues to trail her opponent, Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley, consistently by double digits. She was known as a rare chance for the GOP to pick up a seat in a blue state. But back in May, her opponents on both sides of the aisle seized on a report that she was accused of stalking and harassment.

An openly gay judge in May struck down a 2004 law that banned same-sex marriage in Oregon. Support for marriage equality has grown steadily since 2000, when Americans opposed gay marriage by a 57% to 35% margin. But, in a recent Pew Research Center poll, a majority — 54% — said they favored marriage equality.

For the first time since last year's historic Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) ruling, though, a federal judge in Louisiana earlier this month ruled against marriage equality. His decision broke a 20-plus string of federal court victories for same-sex couples hoping either to marry or to have their out-of-state unions recognized at home.

Prominent lawmakers and public officials from both sides of the aisle have reversed their stances on gay marriage in recent years, including President Barack Obama, former president Bill Clinton, former Vice President Dick Cheney, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Ohio Sen. Rob Portman.

Wehby, the first woman to enroll and graduate from the UCLA neurosurgeon program, is currently a Portland pediatric neurosurgeon. She will challenge Merkley in the state's Senate election on Nov. 4.