A Virginia House Candidate Tries to Leverage Transgender Bias

A Virginia House Candidate Tries to Leverage Transgender Bias

Bob Good, a self-described “biblical conservative” who is the Republican nominee for a House seat in his conservative Central Virginia district, is hoping to rally clergy members with meetings this week attacking a new state law prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, which he characterizes as an assault on religious liberty.

And in at least one of the invitations directed at clergy members and Republican county leaders, which was obtained by The Times, the organizers of the event make clear that they intend to leverage anti-L.G.B.T.Q. sentiment in the district to generate enthusiasm for Mr. Good.

“What happens when a male member of your congregation goes on vacation and returns four weeks later as a female?” the invitation said, adding, “What do your church bylaws state regarding a man dressed as a woman who attends a church function and expects to use the women’s restroom.”

The offensive language about transgender people came in an invitation signed by Travis Witt, a former Virginia Tea Party official who identified himself as the Faith Coalition leader for Mr. Good’s campaign. The subject heading of the invitation was “Re: when a man becomes a woman.”

Mr. Good’s campaign has scheduled a series of six “Virginia Liberty Summits for Pastors” in three cities to discuss the new law.

Mr. Good’s nomination followed the defeat of the Republican incumbent, Representative Denver Riggleman, which was widely viewed as a reaction to his decision to officiate at a same-sex marriage last year. And the invitation, along with other language in Mr. Good’s campaign, illustrates just how far to the right Virginia Republicans have veered, taking positions that have prompted worries from some party members.

Mr. Witt and Mr. Good’s campaign did not return telephone calls seeking comment.

Cameron Webb, the Democratic candidate facing Mr. Good, is a practicing physician who also teaches at the University of Virginia. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, citing Mr. Webb’s performance in the Democratic primary, has pledged assistance to his campaign. If elected, Mr. Webb would become the first Black physician in Congress.

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