The Dorchester Conference, which claims to the nation’s oldest political conference, was established in Oregon in 1965 by Sen. Bob Packwood as a meeting of liberal Republicans in the state. Over the years, it has caught the attention of national political figures and eventually came to be a conclave of the more conservative Oregon Republicans.
However, this year the most conservative GOP Oregonians felt the need to be ever more exclusive and moved out of the big tent to a pup tent to put on a competing rally to rant about abortion and “religious freedom”. (Oregonian)
Rolf Glerum, a longtime Republican activist from Portland who has long warred with social conservatives, said he was happy to see the social conservatives split off.
“Holding this Dorchester without these malcontents is like going deer hunting without an accordion,” he said. “In other words, who cares.”
So this weekend the not-completely-crazy Oregon GOP leaders met to rail against Obamacare (which had a rather disastrous roll out in the state) and to allow candidates to appeal for support. And to endorse marriage equality. (KGW)
The conference celebrated 50 years this weekend and resulted in the first-ever endorsement of marriage equality after a 233 to 162 vote in favor of opposing Oregon’s ban.
“The freedom to marry is consistent with the Republican values of freedom, commitment and personal responsibility,” said Dan Occhipinti, a Portland attorney and Freedom Oregon leader. “If you can pay taxes and fight for your country, you should be able to marry the person you love.”
Reversing the ban will be on the Oregon ballot this year (unless the matter is reversed in court) and having the strong endorsement of moderate Republicans will be a significant advantage in the state.