WASHINGTON — Rep. Denver Riggleman has tallied a complicated record on LGBT rights in his brief stint in Congress.
Riggleman, R-5th, who was elected in 2018, opposed the Equality Act, which would have banned discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. And he voted against a resolution opposing President Donald Trump’s ban on transgender service members.
Still, he says, he supports the right of gay people to marry, and he officiated a same-sex wedding in Crozet this month.
But that act has not sat well with members of his party, who sought to formally rebuke him over the weekend.
The Cumberland County Republican Committee unanimously passed a motion of no confidence in Riggleman on Monday because of his role at the wedding. It also said the measure was because Riggleman was not “tough” enough on “border security and immigration measures.”
The 5th Congressional District Republican Committee also attempted to censure him Saturday for similar reasons, The Roanoke Times reported.
Diana Shores, chairwoman of the Cumberland County committee, declined to comment, pointing to statements she had previously given to reporters. She told NBC News that Riggleman’s choice to officiate the wedding “contradicted his promises to represent the district.”
“Mr. Riggleman, who claims to want government out of marriage, acted as an elected official to perform a marriage,” she stated. “Then, he made it clear in the communications that followed to the leadership of the district that he didn’t care what we thought about the actions. Each district committee can decide if they have further confidence in Congressman Riggleman representing their values. As for me, he doesn’t represent mine.”
Riggleman, a former Air Force intelligence officer and distillery owner with a libertarian streak, did the honors for Anthony LeCounte and Alex Pisciarino, former campaign volunteers, in July at a vineyard in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
“My real belief is that government shouldn’t be involved in marriage at all, but if it is, everybody has to be treated equally before the law,” he told The Washington Post this month. “And that is part of our Republican creed. And it also comes down to love is love. I’m happy to join two people together who obviously love each other.”
But his lack of support for the Equality Act drew criticism from LGBT groups.
On Wednesday, Riggleman stood behind his record and declined to criticize the local Republican committee.
“The Congressman was happy to officiate their wedding and he is proud of these two young people who found their life partner,” he said in a statement. “Congressman Riggleman has full confidence in the district committee.”