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Republican Congressman Censured by GOP for Officiating a Gay Marriage

Representative Denver Riggleman

A Republican congressman was censured by his party for officiating a same-sex marriage.

Rep. Denver Riggleman, who represents Virginia's Fifth Congressional District, presided over the nuptials of two male campaign aides in July 2019, reports NBC News.

The move sparked anger among the GOP in Virginia. It led to the Appomattox County Republican Committee passing a unanimous censure Saturday of Riggleman that specifically lambasted the wedding.

Officiating a same-sex marriage "goes against the values and principles of the Republican Party betraying and disregarding the concerns for the many Conservative and Christian voters in the 5th district who elected Denver Riggleman to the United States House of Representatives," read the committee's statement. It also pointed to his congratulations to President-elect Joe Biden — in defiance of President Trump's false claims of election tampering — as justification for the censure.

Riggleman won his seat in 2018 but lost his reelection bid this summer at a Republican convention, where the party nominated Bob Good for the seat instead of Riggleman. In response to the censure, the congressman accused the party of sabotaging his election due to his views on marriage equality.

"Glad the @VA_GOP finally admits they rig a convention because of the wedding," Riggleman wrote Sunday on Twitter. "We already knew this, but here's your sign I believe in marriage equality and I despise conspiracy theories."

After officiating the same-sex wedding, Riggleman told The Washington Post that when it comes to marriage, "everybody has to be treated equally before the law." However, he has a mixed record when it comes to LGBTQ+ issues. Riggleman voted against the Equality Act, which seeks to amend civil rights law to ban discrimination against LGBTQ+ folks in the workplace, housing, and several other aspects of life. He also failed to support a resolution condemning Trump's ban on transgender people in the military.

In a first, this year the GOP did not provide a party platform at the Republican National Convention. However, historically, its platform explicitly defined marriage as being between one man and one woman.

During the presidential election, "Trump Pride" rallies attempted to persuade gay voters (falsely) that Trump was a more pro-LGBTQ+ candidate than Biden. However, the president's party clearly hasn't progressed much on the issue of marriage equality, which has been the law of the land since a conservative-majority Supreme Court ruled in 2015's Obergefell v. Hodges.

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