Dennis Richardson Can’t Hide from His Anti-LGBT Comments

The man who wants to be Secretary of State—overseeing elections and audits—doesn’t believe that it’s the role of government to ensure fairness. That’s alarming.

By Nancy Haque and Amy Herzfeld-Copple of Portland, Oregon. Nancy and Amy are the co-executive directors of Basic Rights Oregon.

Throughout this historic and perplexing election cycle, we’ve all been collectively horrified to hear and read the statements made about immigrants and women, many dating back decades.

You don’t have to go far to see how a candidate’s shocking statements from the past can come back to haunt them. Former legislator and candidate for Secretary of State Dennis Richardson has a long track record of making heinous anti-LGBTQ comments over the course of his political career. In 2007, he equated the passage of domestic partnerships for same-sex couples to the gun massacre at Virginia Tech. And sadly, there’s much more where that came from.

Despite his claim that he cares about transparency and accountability, Richardson has spent the last four years trying to scrub his past comments from the public.

His record is easy to find. Richardson repeatedly promoted bogus "research reports" that were harmful to LGBTQ Oregonians. Among other things, these “reports”:

And on and on and on and on, including:

“But for society, [same-sex couples’] statistics are devastating. Do they produce offspring? Never. When they raise offspring, at best they compare in many ways with single parents—far below levels of natural married families. In some significant ways, they are inferior to single-parent households.

“Do their relationships lead to healthy people? No. Adult male homosexuals have a life expectancy twenty years shorter than the total male population; those with AIDS have even less time. They are statistically more likely to suffer the entire gamut of mental illness than the rest of society—as much as 6 times higher.”

Dennis Richardson called these statements “thoroughly researched and thoughtfully written” and filled with “in-depth background information.” The totality of these “reports” is far worse than these excerpts can convey. Feel free to go to the link and read them for yourself.

His callousness toward LGBTQ Oregonians was also on display during a speech he gave to the City Club of Portland in 2005. In response to a question from a woman who’d been discriminated against by an insurance company because she’s a lesbian, Richardson said this:

“…Fairness is not the issue. Government cannot make everything fair. This is an unfair world. I wish I were taller. I wish I were better looking. It’s not fair, but it is what it is. You made a decision not to be in a normal marriage… That’s just the way it is.”

The man who wants to be Secretary of State—overseeing elections and audits—doesn’t believe that it’s the role of government to ensure fairness. That’s alarming. So too is his flippant disregard and dismissal of painful, unacceptable discrimination against LGBTQ Oregonians. This is who Dennis Richardson is.

He’s since tried to delete all of his old newsletters and refuses to answer for his full endorsement of these awful statements, incredulously claiming that his bigoted views aren’t relevant to statewide office.

In this race, there’s only one candidate who will stand by LGBTQ Oregonians and their families. Brad Avakian has always been there for us. He’s always stood for fairness, equality, and respect for all of our families.

It’s clear Dennis Richardson cannot be trusted to oversee our election system in Oregon.

If you think all Oregonians, including LGBTQ Oregonians, should be treated with dignity and respect, there’s only one choice for Secretary of State: Brad Avakian.

With research assistance by Scott Moore.

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