August 5, 2017 at 6:00 am EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
LGBT group backs Republican Va. lieutenant governor candidate
Jill Holtzman Vogel, gay news, Washington Blade

Virginia state Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel (R-Fauquier County) (Photo by YngSupervisor; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

An LGBT group has formed to support a Republican lawmaker who is running to become Virginia’s next lieutenant governor.

Evan Draim, chair of LGBT Virginians for Vogel, told the Washington Blade on Thursday during a telephone interview that state Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel (R-Fauquier County) is “the best candidate to represent the LGBT community.”

Vogel, who currently represents the 27th Senate District that includes the city of Winchester and portions of Loudoun County, in 2013 voted to confirm Richmond Circuit Court Judge Tracy Thorne-Begland as Virginia’s first openly gay jurist. The Fauquier County Republican has also voted for measures that would have banned discrimination against LGBT Virginians in employment and housing.

Vogel publicly supports marriage rights for same-sex couples. She nevertheless voted for two religious freedom bills earlier this year and in 2016 that critics contend would have allowed discrimination against them.

“As a strong supporter of tolerance and freedom, Jill Vogel believes that the same constitution which protects same-sex couples’ right to marry also protects the free exercise rights of ministers, who should not be compelled to participate in a religious ceremony which violates their sincerely held religious beliefs,” Eloise Hincker, a spokesperson for Vogel’s campaign, told the Washington Blade on Friday in an email. “Jill’s vote on a bill to protect ministers does not contradict her opposition to discrimination. Rather, it reflects her live-and-let-live world view which holds that government does not belong in either the bedroom or the church.”

Hincker also noted Gov. Terry McAuliffe vetoed both measures.

“As the governor correctly noted in his veto statement, these bills would have protected rights already protected by the First Amendment,” said Hincker. “Jill agrees and supports setting forth these protections in the Virginia Code as well.”

Draim noted Vogel also supports U.S. Rep. Scott Taylor (R-Va.)’s bill that would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the federal Fair Housing Act.

“She has a record of voting for the LGBT community in Virginia,” Draim told the Blade.

Vogel ‘honored’ to have LGBT group’s support

Draim is the Young Republican Federation of Virginia’s 10th District’s representative and the operations chair for the Fairfax County Republican Committee’s Dranesville District. He was a delegate for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney at the 2012 Republican National Convention.

Draim is an employment development specialist at ServiceSource Foundation, a non-profit organization in Oakton, Va., that provides job training and other services to people with disabilities.

Draim, who at 17 was the youngest delegate at the 2012 Republican National Convention, told the Blade that Vogel is scheduled to attend Pride events around Virginia with his group. Draim also said the reaction to Vogel’s campaign among LGBT Virginians has been “very positive.”

“I’m an LGBT Republican,” said Draim. “It means a lot to me to have a candidate like Jill.”

Vogel in a statement to the Blade said she welcomes LGBT Virginians for Vogel’s support.

“I am honored to have these future leaders joining me in standing against discrimination and supporting equal opportunity for all,” she said. “As lieutenant governor, I will continue supporting equal justice and opportunity for all, and I look forward to working with advocates like Evan to advance the inclusive values we share.”

Vogel will face off against Democrat Justin Fairfax in November. Current Lieutenant Gov. Ralph Northam is running against former Republican National Committee Chair Ed Gillespie in the race to succeed McAuliffe.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

15 Comments
  • “An LGBT group has formed to support a Republican lawmaker who is running to become Virginia’s next lieutenant governor”

    THAT is what the headline of this piece should have been.

    The heretofore unknown person who conveniently formed this “LGBT group”?

    He “is the Young Republican Federation of Virginia’s 10th District’s representative and the operations chair for the Fairfax County Republican Committee’s Dranesville District. He was a delegate for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney at the 2012 Republican National Convention”

    Scam on the hoof – and you not only fell for it, you did some deceptive advertising for it.

    Did you ask if there is more than one person in the “group”? And, if so, are any of them trans and not named Jenner?

    • Thank you for exposing the deception in yet another attempt to scam the GLBT community into supporting a party that is dedicated and committed not only to opposing the advancement of our rights but also rolling back the rights we have achieved!

      Mitt Romney is yet another classic example of someone who scammed the community when running for office in Massachusetts, telling us that he would be better for us than Ted Kennedy. Yet when he became Governor he lead the oppositions to marriage equality. Like the fake POTUS, he flip flops and tells people what they want to hear to get their support! NEVER trust a Republican! Doing so has burned us repeatedly!

    • Our coalition has 7 members on our executive committee, which include a Chairman and 6 regional vice-chairs from different areas of the commonwealth. In addition to the executive committee, we are registering supporters for Jill at Pride events across Virginia. During our first Pride event in Harrisonburg, we registered over 50 supporters at that event alone.

      Instead of discounting Jill because she is a Republican, we should also acknowledge the fact that she has stood up for LGBT Virginians even when it was politically difficult for her to do so. Jill has defended the LGBT community not because she wants to win an election but because she believes so strongly in this cause. It is a testament to Jill that she represents a conservative district in the Virginia State Senate and won a statewide Republican primary while never backing away from her convictions. During her primary, her opponent tried to make her votes in favor of LGBT equality an issue and she stood her ground, saying that the Republican Party should stand for “equality for all.”

      In fact, Jill is the only candidate in this race who has a record of voting in favor of LGBT rights. Her opponent has never held elective office or been asked to stand up for LGBT Virginians where it counts. We can trust Jill to be a champion for us because she already has a record on the issues that this community cares about. Her opponent cannot say the same.

      Opposing discrimination and supporting the LGBT community should not be a partisan issue. Jill has worked to change minds on these issues within her own party – and her nomination & support for this coalition show that she has been largely successful in that task. If you really care about promoting LGBT rights, you should celebrate what Jill has accomplished. As our next Lt. Governor, she will ensure that more legislators from both parties are encouraged to vote in favor of equality (something that is especially important considering that Republicans will likely retain a majority).

      Finally, Jill Vogel understands that – like all other Virginians – the LGBT community cares about a wide variety of topics, including having an ethical government, being able to send their kids to good schools, and benefitting from a robust economy. Just as she has worked across the aisle to build support for LGBT rights, Jill will work with Democrats, Independents, and Republicans to find bipartisan solutions to these issues as well.

      • Then perhaps she should change party affiliation to Democratic.

        • Why would she want to join a minor regional party that only exists in a few cities, where the only functional infrastructure is the “school”-to-prison pipeline fed by Democrats who round up poor black kids and sell them to the NEA for donations to Democratic candidates?

      • “Religious freedom” bills are BULLSHIT. Ministers *already* have total freedom to marry/not marry who they please. This is about “Hobby Lobby”-type *for profit businesses* being able to discriminate. (*)

        That Ms Vogel voted for this tripe SHOULD be a deal-breaker for any self-respecting group that calls itself “LGBT”.

        (*) FWIW, I say all this as a person of faith—who’s absolutely free to practice my faith, w/o these “freedom to DISCRIMINATE” laws.

        • ^ a Jewish person who hates Muslims & Christians

        • Really? How come all these people small town people keep receiving death threats from bitter little gay fascist chihuahuas, and fines and law suits for $100,000 plus, to force them to bake cakes for or rent spaces to gay weddings?

          No wonder America now votes against any candidate self-appointed gay “leaders” endorse on TV.

          Thanks for your crapulent public relations you morons.

  • Vogel certainly wasn’t at Hampton Roads Pridefest. Let’s see if she shows up in Charlottesville, Richmond or NoVaPride. And does Vogel endorse Bob Marshall’s re-election for the House of Delegates or would she support Danica Roehm? If she supports Bob Marshall, that will tell us all we need to know about her supporting the community.

    • Inquiring minds want to know.

    • Well, since the “gay community” – AKA the gay political class of grifters who make 6 figure salaries sending out HRC fundraising letters – have shown that they can’t deliver any significant vote and elect any candidate, from Killary to Roflm#Ossoff, why should any politician go to a Pride festival and watch naked boys on Vodka company floats while intersectional activists protest and stop the parade. Who gives a f*ck about a self-marginalizing and irrelevant group of drunks?

  • “Jill’s vote on a bill to protect ministers does not contradict her
    opposition to discrimination. Rather, it reflects her live-and-let-live
    world view which holds that government does not belong in either the
    bedroom or the church.”

    utter rubbish, it is exactly because of what the churchies *think* goes on in the bedroom that they want the government to allow them to discriminate against us.

    furthermore, I’m becoming disappointed in the quality of The Blade’s editorial staff: these click-baity headlines are unworthy of them.

    • The rubbish is the traditional civil rights paradigm – which has left so many African Americans in poverty and segregated schools – that the gay political class worships and wants to extend to create a fascist state where everyone’s thought, speech, and livelihood will be regulated to make quotas for a never ending list of “groups” – not individuals – like a medieval guild system.

      It should be scrapped, along with the Democratic Party, for a fresh start.

  • Nice to see a candidate who walks the walk rather than just talking the talk. She’s sticking her neck out for us when it would be so much easier not to. LGBT rights shouldn’t be a partisan issue; it should be a common sense issue. Proud to support Jill this November!

  • I always liked Jill, but I was never sure of her opinion on LGBT rights. After reading this I am definitely voting for her. I would rather support a candidate like Jill who has been voting for LGBT rights her entire political career than a candidate like her opponent who has NO record on LGBT rights.

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