People For the American Way

Meet Bob Marshall: Extremist Who Says Disabled Children Are God’s Punishment, Gay People Should Be Jailed, And Schools Should Have More Guns

News and Analysis
Meet Bob Marshall: Extremist Who Says Disabled Children Are God’s Punishment, Gay People Should Be Jailed, And Schools Should Have More Guns

Virginia Republican Bob Marshall, a state delegate representing the state’s 13th district, is a figurehead in a conservative movement that seeks to prevent and roll back any and all expansion of rights for women and LGBTQ people. He was once called “the Culture War’s Four-Star General” due to his extreme record.

Marshall is now running for re-election against Democrat Danica Roem, a former reporter who is the first transgender candidate to win a Virginia primary.

  • Marshall said that children with disabilities are God’s punishment for abortion: “The number of children who are born subsequent to a first abortion who have handicaps has increased dramatically. Why? Because when you abort the firstborn of any, nature takes its vengeance on the subsequent children. In the Old Testament, the first born of every being, animal and man, was dedicated to the Lord. There’s a special punishment, Christians would suggest.”
  • Marshall introduced an extreme “personhood” measure that would have all but outlawed abortion in all cases and could have restricted access to contraception, and cosponsored a notorious bill that would have required all women seeking abortions to undergo an invasive transvaginal ultrasound.
  • Marshall has repeatedly argued that the government should be able to put people in jail for being gay. In 2011, citing a law that had been invalidated by the Supreme Court in Lawrence v. Texas, he wrote that “homosexual behavior…is a class six felony in Virginia.”
  • In 2012, Marshall argued against confirming a state judicial nominee because he was gay, saying that his “lifestyle” would be “contrary” to his oath of office and that “sodomy is not a civil right.”
  • Marshall claimed in 2013 that the only explanation for Justice Anthony Kennedy ruling in favor of marriage equality in U.S. v. Windsor was that Kennedy is secretly gay: “For all I know, Kennedy’s a homosexual. You can’t be doing some of these things without this kind of conclusion.” He later elaborated: “Clearly, some of the people who are making these decisions must be rationalizing their own bad behavior.”
  • Marshall introduced a bill that would have permitted explicit discrimination against LGBTQ Americans and said anyone who opposed his measure was discriminating against heterosexuals. He also wrote legislation that would have banned transgender people from using the restrooms in government buildings that match their gender identity.
  • Marshall sought to ban “active homosexuals” from serving in the Virginia National Guard, saying that the presence of gays and lesbians in the military meant that their fellow service members would get distracted during battle: “It’s a distraction when I’m on the battlefield and have to concentrate on the enemy 600 yards away and I’m worried about this guy whose got eyes on me.”
  • Marshall called the Affordable Care Act financial “rape”: “The government’s individual mandate is not a regulation of commerce; it is a compelled societal duty. Indeed, the individual mandate is not voluntary commercial intercourse; it is forcible economic rape.”
  • Marshall proposed a bill that would have required guns in schools.

Support Danica Roem

  1. Volunteer. Knock on doors, make calls, and help make history.
  2. Donate. Don’t have time to volunteer before election day? Make a contribution now.
  3. Vote on November 7! Find your polling location, make a plan, and bring your friends.


Bob Marshall, LGBTQ equality, Virginia