Virginia legislator Danica Roem is facing a conservative marriage equality opponent and former Trump administration member in her reelection race this November.
Roem, a Democrat, was elected to the House of Delegates in 2017, becoming the first out transgender person to be elected to and seated in a state legislature. In 2019 she became the first out trans person reelected. In her first election, she defeated Del. Bob Marshall, a longtime legislator who was intensely anti-LGBTQ+. She beat an anti-LGBTQ+ challenger, Kelly McGinn, in her reelection race.
Christopher Stone, the Republican challenging her in Virginia's 13th District this year, has described the U.S. Supreme Court's 2015 marriage equality decision as an example of "legislating from the bench," the Washington Blade reports. He also said the court's infamous Dred Scott decision from 1857, which held that enslaved people and their descendants could not be U.S. citizens, was another case of legislating by judges. He opposes adoption rights for same-sex couples as well.
He further said that laws protecting LGBTQ+ people from discrimination should have more accommodations for religious objections and consider "both sides" of the issue. "A lot of people that I talk to are concerned that the way the laws are written you are protecting one group and infringing upon the constitutional freedoms of another," he told the Blade, adding, "But you don't just ignore those people. You accommodate both sides. I don't like laws aimed at a single group or giving protections to one side. That is how a lot of people see LGBTQ laws."
Stone has also said he wants to fight "cancel culture" and that there has been "government overreach" in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the racial unrest of 2020. He has additionally claimed that worries about the integrity of last year's presidential election have not been taken seriously.
"If the citizens are concerned about a topic, their elected representatives are there to help them look into these things and not make them feel stupid or that they're conspiracy people," he told Inside Nova, a northern Virginia publication, earlier this year. "And if they find there's nothing wrong, then great. At least they did their due diligence."
Actually, multiple reviews have found no widespread fraud in the election, even though Donald Trump continues to claim he defeated Joe Biden.
Stone worked briefly in the Trump administration, advising the Defense Department on the creation of the so-called Space Force. He is an Air Force veteran and member of the National Guard. A native of Missouri, he was a staffer for two Republican U.S. senators from the state, Kit Bond and Jim Talent, several years ago. He has recently taught graduate courses on space strategy and policy at Missouri State University's D.C.-area campus.
Roem decried Stone's anti-LGBTQ+ stances and clapped back at his contention that she hasn't done enough to improve transportation in northern Virginia, a key issue for her.
"If you have marriage equality, you can't possibly tell an LGBTQ couple that they can't adopt children," she told the Blade. "What a horrible thing to tell any loving parent. We already litigated the hell out of this."
She also said there's been progress on easing traffic congestion on Route 28, a major highway in the district, and more is coming. "You cannot tell me in good faith that we have not done anything to fix 28," she said. "It is being done right now."
Sean Meloy, the LGBTQ Victory Fund's vice president of political programs, said Roem has done much to improve life for her constituents, such as backing legislation to expand health care and advance LGBTQ+ equality.
"While Del. Roem is hard at work, her opponent has decried mask mandates, supports extremist protesters in Loudoun County, and called for an investigation of the 2020 election," Meloy told the Blade. "Virginia voters are savvy, and they know when a candidate has their backs -- which is why they've elected Del. Roem twice and will reelect her once again this November."
Roem added, "If you are exclusionary like my challenger, then you are going to lose. The people of the 13th District aren't putting up with this anymore."