The Basic Rights Oregon Equality PAC is pleased to endorse Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industry Commissioner (BOLI) Brad Avakian in the Democratic Primary for Secretary of State.

The Equality PAC also is proud to give Green Lights to State Senator Richard Devlin and State Representative Val Hoyle, the other two Democratic Primary candidates, affirming they both are highly qualified for the office and have strong records on LGBTQ equality.

“From his time in the Legislature to his current work with BOLI, Brad Avakian has been a champion in the fight for equality even in the face of vocal opposition,” said CM Hall, Chair of the Equality PAC Board. “Today, he remains the target of media attacks for enforcing the 2007 Oregon Equality Act, yet is resolute in his commitment to fairness, and enforcing the law. It’s that kind of leadership we need in an office as vital as the Secretary of State. While all three candidates are extremely qualified and champions for LGBTQ equality, we felt Commissioner Avakian’s record set him apart.” 

The Oregon Equality Act prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, public accommodation, education and more. Commissioner Avakian co-sponsored and carried the landmark 2007 Oregon Equality Act to passage on the Senate floor.

During his tenure at BOLI, Commissioner Avakian has:

  • Secured military burial rights for Nancy Lynchild, the spouse of retired Lieutenant Colonel Linda Campbell, following a nine-month process to obtain the nation’s first approval for a same-sex couple’s burial in a national military cemetery.
  • Filed first Commissioner’s Complaint for gender identity discrimination after patrons were denied service at the P Club, a North Portland bar. BOLI prevailed in both the hearing and Court of Appeals.
  • Strongly enforced public accommodations civil rights protections, including the Sweet Cakes by Melissa bakery case, when the business owner denied service to a same-sex couple based on their sexual orientation.
  • Protected the civil rights of Oregonians in the workplace when they faced discrimination based on gender identity.
  • Opposed efforts by Oregon Family Council and others to weaken Oregon’s Equality Act.

Additionally, Commissioner Avakian publically supported marriage equality in 1998, during his first run for public office and has been a vocal racial justice champion, calling for a higher minimum wage and driver’s cards for undocumented immigrants, prosecuting wage theft and racial discrimination cases, and creating the Oregon Council on Civil Rights.

 On Senator Devlin: Since he was first elected to the Legislature in 1996, Senator Devlin has maintained a strong record on LGBTQ equality, having earned the endorsement of Basic Rights Oregon Equality PAC and its predecessor organizations in every one of his legislative races. Senator Devlin represents Lake Oswego, SW Portland, Tualatin and West Linn and has been a leading voice in the Oregon Legislature on protecting funding for the public schools, community colleges, and universities that Oregon families depend on and are the vital foundation of a strong economy. He’s fought to ensure children and seniors have access to critical services, and that middle class families are protected during tough times.

 On Representative Hoyle: First appointed to the Legislature in 2009, Rep. Hoyle was elected twice to represent House District 14, a swing district that includes West Eugene and Junction City. Her hard work and leadership was recognized by her peers and she was chosen by her caucus to serve as the House Majority Leader in 2012, 2013, and 2014. Hoyle’s Green Light from the Equality PAC reflects her deep commitment to LGBTQ equality. She also earned the Basic Rights Oregon Equality PAC endorsement in her previous races. She led her colleagues to secure investments in our public schools, passed paid sick leave so no one has to fear losing their job because they get sick or need to care for a sick child and fought to protect women’s reproductive rights, including making it possible for women to get birth control over the counter.

About Basic Rights Equality PAC: Basic Rights Equality PAC is a non-partisan political action committee seeking to end discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in Oregon by electing pro-equality candidates in statewide and legislative offices.

The Equality PAC’s all-volunteer board members interview candidates and issue endorsements in select races. During the 2014 election cycle, 46 of 52 Equality PAC endorsed candidates won in statewide, local and legislative races. Oregonians can support the Equality PAC by using the Oregon Political Tax Credit, which allows you to make a $50 donation, or $100 for couples, and then you get your money back on your taxes.