Delegate with anti-LGBTQ past announces run for Virginia Attorney General
Del. Robert B. Bell (R-58) has laid plans to run for the Virginia Attorney General seat next year.
The republican, hailing from Charlottesville, ran a failed bid in 2013, losing to felling GOP failure Sen. Mark D. Obenshain (R-Rockingham).
Bell’s history with LGBTQ issues is lengthy and negative.
After current Attorney General Mark Herring announced he would not defend the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, Bell voted in support of HB 706 which would have allowed other members of the Virginia GA to represent, or hire representation, to defend ban in court.
That bill failed, and Virginia’s ban was struck down without further interference from elected officials.
But Bell’s anti-LGBTQ history doesn’t stop there.
He was co-patron to one of the nation’s first religious liberty bills which allowed state-funded adoption bills to deny services based on their “conscious,” including denying adoptions to same-sex couples.
This bill is still active in Virginia and complicates adoptions for same-sex couples around the Commonwealth.
When the openly gay Navy vet and Richmond area prosecutor Tracy Thorn-Begland was in the running for a judge’s seat, Bell was among many conservative voices who spoke out against his nomination.
The Delegate told the Examiner.com he “thought the actions [Thorne-Begland] took while an active-duty military officer were contrary to the oath of office and the Military Code of Justice and I thought the actions he took thereby meant that I did not think he would be a good judge for Virginia.”
Thorn-Begland later managed to drum up enough support locally and was given a seat in Richmond’s General District Court.
In the 90′s, Thorn-Begland went on national TV to discuss the anti-gay actions he witnessed and was victim to in the Navy.
“The 2013 elections set a new standard – every candidate that won statewide office campaigned openly in support of gay and transgender Virginians,” said James Parrish, Executive Director of Equality Virginia after hearing about Bell’s announcement. “Their win ushered in a new Virginia, one that recognizes the value that diversity, inclusion, and equality bring to our commonwealth. Looking towards the 2017 elections, Equality Virginia believes all candidates should support this new vision for Virginia.”
“Delegate Bell’s support of the unconstitutional marriage amendment, adoption and foster care laws that discriminate against lesbian and gay couples, and his vote against Judge Thorne-Begland shows his vision for Virginia does not align with the majority of Virginia’s voters,” said Parrish in a statement.
AG Herring won his seat in 2013 by only a few hundred votes, so the AG race might be tight again – however being a Presidential election year, voter-turnout should be higher.
Top image via Rob Bell’s Facebook page
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