Northam — who is running against former Republican National Committee Chair Ed Gillespie so succeed Gov. Terry McAuliffe — sharply criticized President Trump over his administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and a host of other issues as he spoke. Northam also applauded Attorney General Mark Herring — who announced in 2014 that he would not defend Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban — and Justin Fairfax, who is running for lieutenant governor.
“We need to welcome people to Virginia,” said Northam. “It shouldn’t matter your sexual orientation. It shouldn’t matter the color of your skin, the country you come from or the religion that you practice. We are all in this together. Let’s welcome people to the commonwealth of Virginia.”
Northam hugged Roem on stage as he spoke.
Roem, a former journalist, is running against state Del. Bob Marshall (R-Prince William County) in the 13th District of the Virginia House of Delegates. Roem would make history as the first openly transgender person seated in any state legislature in the country if she were to beat Marshall on Nov. 7.
“I’ve been his constituent for 26 years . . . I interviewed him for a long time,” said Roem, referring to Marshall, who is among the most vocal opponents of LGBT rights in the General Assembly. “I know why he does what he does and I stood up this year because yeah you know what, I’m really upset about (Route) 28 and at the same time I want to make the point to every person throughout our commonwealth that no matter what you look like, where you come from, how you worship or who you love, you should be celebrated because of who you are, not for what politicians like Del. Marshall tell you who you should be.”
State Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria), state Dels. Mark Levine (D-Alexandria) and Mark Sickles (D-Fairfax County), Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette, Alexandria City Councilman Paul Smedberg, Equality Virginia Executive Director James Parrish and Marty Rouse of the Human Rights Campaign were among those who attended the event.