Virginia Congressman Feigns LGBT Support To Justify Not Endorsing Extreme Republican Candidate

Rep. Scott Rigell (R-VA) will not publicly endorse his party’s Lieutenant Governor nominee, Bishop E.W. Jackson, due to his extreme anti-gay views — but will still vote for him this November.

Rigell told the Virginian Pilot on Monday that he could not campaign for Jackson because “his views with respect to the gay and lesbian community and homosexuality in general are not my own. I’m going to leave it at that… What he said and, indeed, how he said it. All of it.” But, Rigell said, he plans to vote for Jackson and does support Republican gubernatorial nominee Ken Cuccinelli II — whose anti-LGBT views and rhetoric are almost identical to Jackson’s.

Jackson, who unexpectedly won his party’s nomination at a sparsely attended party convention last month, believes “the homosexual movement is a cancer attacking vital organs of faith, family & military,” and claims, “homosexuality is a horrible sin, it poisons culture, it destroys families, it destroys societies; it brings the judgment of God unlike very few things that we can think of.” Cuccinelli, Virginia’s current attorney general, has said, “When you look at the homosexual agenda, I cannot support something that I believe brings nothing but self-destruction, not only physically but of their soul.”

While he claims not to be as anti-gay as Jackson, Rigell has amassed a consistently anti-equality record over his two-and-a-half years in Congress. According to the Human Rights Campaign, Rigell earned a zero score on LGBT issues in the 112th Congress, reaffirming the unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), backing a watered-down version of the Violence Against Women Act that lacked LGBT protections, and supporting a prohibition on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal training for military chaplains. He declined to co-sponsor the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and highlights his opposition to marriage equality on his campaign website as an example of his support for “Traditional American Values.” He even signed on as a co-sponsor of a resolution condemning the Obama administration for not defending DOMA in court.


Before his tenure in Congress, Rigell led an anti-gay split of his parish, bolting from the Episcopal Church over its “modern” approach, of allowing openly-LGBT bishops and opposing a marriage inequality constitutional amendment.