A transgender woman ousted one of Virginia’s most conservative state reps Tuesday — the man who introduced a bill requiring people to use the bathroom of their biological sex.
Virginia House of Delegates candidate Danica Roem beat conservative delegate Robert Marshall, becoming the first openly transgender state representative.
Marshall sponsored a constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriage and also introduced a bathroom bill this year designed to require transgenders to use the bathroom corresponding to their biological sex rather than the sex they identify with.
Roem, a 33-year-old former journalist, focused his campaign on improving traffic routes and garnering increasingly progressive rights for transgenders, while the 13-term incumbent Marshall ran on a promise to preserve the more conservative values Virginia has historically espoused.
“It’s hard to imagine two candidates appealing more to two such different elements of the electorate,” University of Mary Washington professor Stephen Farnsworth said before the election, according to The Washington Post.
“Virginia has changed so rapidly over the past 20 years. It’s gone from a state where no politician would dare to condemn the Confederacy to a state where a suburban district would elect a transgender candidate,” Farnsworth said after the win according to the Washington Post. “The Old Dominion gives way to a very different New Dominion.”
Despite his loss, Marshall vowed not to give up serving the public to the best of his abilities. “For 26 years I’ve been proud to fight for you, and fight for our future,” Marshall wrote in a concession post on Facebook. “I’m committed to continue the fight for you, but in a different role going forward.”
Liberal organizations came out and lauded Roem’s win on Twitter and in official statements after the election results came in.
“HRC was proud to mobilize voters to support Danica Roem’s trailblazing candidacy, and we look forward to working with her to help continue moving equality forward in Virginia,” the Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin noted in a statement after Roem’s win. (Related: Virginia Elects The First Openly Trans State Representative).
“History made tonight! # has just become the first openly transgender legislator in U.S. history,” the Women’s March also tweeted.
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