Meet the man who might beat Del. Bob Marshall, removing the Commonwealth’s best known bigot
Virginia’s anti-LGBTQ history is hard to trace, but if you had to pin point the moment it became mainstream, you could probably say one of the largest turning points was in 2006 with the passage of the Marshall Newman Amendment, banning same-sex marriage in the Commonwealth.
The two politicians who’s names appear in the legislation – Del. Bob Marshall (R-13) and Sen. Steven Newman (R-23) – are both still in office. And while the issue of marriage equality might be solved thanks to the Supreme Court’s ruling earlier this year, one of the afore mentioned elected officials, Bob Marshall, continues his personal crusade against LGBTQ Virginians.
Marshall’s anti-LGBTQ history is impressive and reads like a laundry list of bigotry and twisted allegiances to “gods will.”
In 2010, he tried to ban gays and lesbians from serving in the Commonwealth’s National Guard. By 2011′s General Assembly session, he passed a bill allowing state-funded adoption agencies the right to deny adoptions to same-sex couples, making Virginia one of the first states in the US to have a “religious freedom” law. Not taking much time off, by June 2011, he condemned The Richmond Federal Reserve for flying a massive rainbow flag in support of Pride Month, calling it “disappointing” that the private entity would “condone homosexual behavior.”
He’s compared the love between same-sex people to pedophilia, necrophilia, and sex with inanimate objects and he lead the charge against appointing the openly gay military vet Tracy Thorne-Begland to a Virginia Judge seat, calling him an activist for speaking out against Don’t Ask Don’t Tell in the 90′s.
This is but a small portion of Marshall’s anti-gay activity, you can read all our coverage of his madness here. Either way, if there’s one politician in this state who’s made the Commonwealth seem anti-gay, it’s Bob Marshall.
But that might change if Gainesville resident Don Shaw (top image, middle) has anything to say about it.
The democratic candidate running running against longtime incumbent Marshal, Shaw led a distinguished career in the military and the public sector.
Born and raised in Appalachia, Shaw was the son of a railroad diesel mechanic. After graduating high school in Ashland, Kentucky, he joined the military, where his service included listening to sensitive Russian communications and interpreting during international arms control inspections.
After 15 years of active duty, he transitioned from the Army to the Air National Guard, and retired five years later. Shaw then worked eight years as a senior manager in the federal government before entering the private sector.
Residing in Prince William County since 1997 (where the family’s three children all either graduated from or attend county schools), Shaw’s decision to run for delegate consisted of a myriad of factors, but Marshall’s anti-LGBTQ history was a big part of it.
“I’m a firm believer in marriage for all,” said Shaw in an interview with GayRVA. But his support doesn’t stop at marriage equality, he said he believes that you “shouldn’t be discriminated against for who you love.”
For Shaw, Marshall’s stance on LGBTQ issues hits particularly close to home – his 23-year-old son, Jon (pictured below), is a member of the LGBTQ community.
“He wants to live, raise a family, and contribute to the economy of Virginia,” Shaw said. “He shouldn’t be discriminated against because of who he is. “When we start to institutionalize discrimination where do we stop? You can pick a group and go from there.”
Shaw brought up the lack of workplace protections for LGBTQ workers. “My son could be married in the morning and fired in the afternoon,” he said.
Women’s rights are also a sticking point for Shaw. The most recent census data shows that women make 78 percent of what men make in the workplace. Recent census data as well as statistics from the Labor Department show the wage gap has shortened, but it hasn’t gone away.
Shaw’s campaign believes in equal pay for equal work, noting that “if a woman puts in a dollar’s worth of work, she deserves a dollar’s worth of wages.”
Marshall has held his seat for over two decades, but Shaw believes this time could be different.
Society has progressed significantly since Marshall took office. According to Pew Research in 2001, Americans opposed same-sex marriage by a 57 percent to 35 percent margin. Today, Pew Research shows a majority of Americans (55 percent) support same-sex marriage, compared with 39 percent who oppose it. All in all, the mix of recent legal and social change has helped pave the way for a challenge to Marshall’s tenure.
Marshall might have his work cut out for him this time too. In his last bid for office, the bigot took his district by less than 3%.
We hope Shaw stands by his words when it comes to LGBTQ issues, and having an LGBTQ family member may help secure his stance.
Let’s hope those in the 13th District agree when they go to the polls next week.
“If you vote for the bill and it ends up passing you are rolling back protections from a quarter of state employees,”February 11, 2016
- Del. Bob Marshall’s bill to remove protections for LGBTQ teachers and students passes House subcommittee, February 5, 2016
- Two delegates aim to undo protections for LGBTQ students and teachers across the Commonwealth, January 7, 2016
- Virginia’s most famous anti-LGBTQ delegate offers vague bill aiming to curb state protections for LGBTQs, December 9, 2015
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