Virginia Republican Del. Bob Marshall’s berserk homophobia and transphobia aren’t exactly news. His extreme statements and policy stances during his many years in the Virginia House of Delegates reveal his fear and loathing of the LGBTQ community.
But Marshall’s Democratic opponent in this year’s contest for House District 13 happens to be a transgender woman, and the GOP incumbent is not taking it well.
Marshall, who refuses to refer to Daily Kos endorsee Danica Roem with female pronouns, is avoiding appearing at debates or candidate forums with her out of fear that he’ll get called mean names (“Bigot Bob” is apparently taking off online). Marshall has seems to have developed a fear of reporters, as well. He’s refusing to allow them to accompany him while he knocks on voters’ doors, and he’ll only respond to questions via email, with carefully planned remarks.
And now a conservative outside group is trying to ride to Marshall’s rescue, so to speak, in the form of robocalls full of transphobic smears and lies. Voters in the district are receiving calls paid for by the American Principals Project, a ”social welfare organization” that advocates for “the union of one man and one woman as the definition of marriage,” among other typical conservative insults. The robocalls make a series of (false) statements, then asks if they make the listener more or less likely to support Roem or Marshall. These statements include claims that Roem supports:
- a law that would shut down hospitals if they refused to perform sex reassignment operations;
- a law that would shut down adoption agencies that prioritize placing children with married mothers and fathers;
- allowing boys into girls’ shower facilities and locker rooms,
- policies that allow boys to play on girls’ sports teams and girls’ sports leagues; and
- requiring business owners to provide services for same-sex weddings or face possible jail time or fines.
All of this is transphobic garbage, obviously.
The executive director of APP sees this race as part of a larger cultural battle against, as he put it, “a radical agenda to force the transgender identity on children in our schools.”
Marshall’s own crusade against the LGBTQ community is long and storied. A few of his greatest hits include:
- Leading the fight in the House this year for an anti-transgender "bathroom bill" that was somehow worse than North Carolina's (it allowed anyone who found someone in the "wrong" bathroom to sue the relevant government authority for failing to prevent such an outrage).
- Fighting to prevent gay soldiers from serving in the Virginia National Guard (claiming that he worried about gay troops spreading STDs) after Congress finally repealed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
- Successfully derailing the nomination of a highly respected and qualified judicial nominee who happened to be gay.
- Claiming in national media that LGBTQ "behavior" reduces one's lifespan "by about 20 years."
- Writing a very stern letter to the chair of the Richmond Federal Reserve Bank in 2011 for flying a rainbow flag next to the American flag during Pride Month, calling it "a celebration of a behavior that is still a class six felony in Virginia" and "an attack on public morals."
- Attempting to legalize anti-LGBTQ discrimination by any worker or business, public or private.
So Marshall and APP seem rather perfect for each other.
Roem says that the robocalls have only strengthened her resolve to win this election and oust one of the most bigoted lawmakers in country.
You can help beat Marshall and his GOP cohorts in the Virginia House—donate $1 each to Roem and our other endorsed Democratic candidates today!