Monica Wehby, who is looking to unseat Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley, on Tuesday released a television ad highlighting her support for gay marriage.

According to, Wehby is the first Republican Senate candidate to run a statewide ad endorsing marriage equality.

“My opponent keeps trying to paint me as an extreme right-wing Republican, and that's actually not who I am,” she told “I'm a very independent-minded person, like our state. I've always felt government should stay out of it. This isn't a change in thought for me at all.”

The 30-second clip stars Ben West, a plaintiff in the lawsuit that successfully challenged Oregon's restrictive marriage ban.

“Marrying my husband was the happiest day of my life,” West says in the ad over photos from the couple's wedding. “I was proud of Oregon and our country. But there's a lot of work left to do. Whether it's standing up for equality or for the unemployed or for the next generation, we need leaders who have the courage to do what's right. That's why I support Monica Wehby. I know she'll fight for every Oregon family, including mine.”

Wehby, who trails Merkley in the polls, described the Republican Party as “a big tent party.”

“It's important that we are very tolerant of differences within our own group. We don't all have to agree 100 percent of the time,” she told