‘We’re not moderate. We’re both pretty staunchly conservative…’
(Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) A conservative GOP congressman officiated a same-sex wedding in Virginia over the weekend—a choice that led some critics to denounce the demonstrative shift in Southern Republican politics.
Rep. Denver Riggleman presided over a “fabulous gay summer wedding” for Anthony LeCounte and Alex Pisciarino at King Family Vineyards, just west of Charlottesville.
LeCounte and Pisciarino said they asked Riggleman to officiate their wedding because he is their friend and they “respect his politics.”
Both grooms said they identify as “accepting” Republicans, according to The Washington Post.
“We’re not moderate,” LeCounte said. “We’re both pretty staunchly conservative.”
Few politicians—either left or right—have ever officiated gay weddings. Among Southern Republicans, this has only been known to happen once before, when a Texas judge officiated a gay wedding in 2016 and left the GOP soon after.
However, as the Left makes a full-on press to flip the once solid-red state, conservatives in Virginia continue to be subjected to “sue til blue” gerrymandering efforts and a flood of outside money from far-left billionaires like Tom Steyer and George Soros.
To keep his seat, Riggleman—whose expansive 5th district encompasses both rural areas and liberal Charlottesville—must embrace some nontraditional causes and constituents.
Most of Riggleman’s policies have been in line with other conservatives: He wants Planned Parenthood defunded, and he advocates for reducing bureaucratic regulation and government spending.
But he said he supported the 2015 Supreme Court decision that legalized gay marriage.
“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,” Riggleman told the Post.
“And that is part of our Republican creed. And it also comes down to love is love,” he added. “I’m happy to join two people together who obviously love each other.”
Striking down the transgender military ban would have gone “too far,” he said, because it would be “condemning something that we’re still studying.”
Trump also has supported gay marriage and unconventional GOP positions on LGBT issues, as noted in a 2016 New York Times article.
“He has nurtured long friendships with gay people, employed gay workers in prominent positions, and moved with ease in industries where gays have long exerted influence, like entertainment,” wrote the Times’s Maggie Haberman.
And while parts of the Right remain hesitant accept LGBT members under the big tent, openly gay Republicans have become some of the most vocal defenders of conservative values amid the growing #WalkAway movement.
Liberty Headlines’ Ben Sellers contributed to this report.