Bob Marshall (Virginia politician)

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Bob Marshall
Bob Marshall (8002220023).jpg
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates
from the 13th district
Assumed office
January 8, 1992
Preceded by Joan H. Munford
Personal details
Born Robert Gerald Marshall
(1944-05-03) May 3, 1944 (age 73)
Takoma Park, Maryland, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Catherine Ann Fonseca
Children Teresa
Mary Clare
Residence Manassas, Virginia
Alma mater Montgomery College (A.A.)
Belmont Abbey College (B.A.)
California State University, Northridge (M.A.)

Robert Gerald Marshall (born May 3, 1944) is a Republican member of the Virginia House of Delegates representing the 13th District, currently serving his 11th term. His district includes portions of Prince William and Loudoun counties.

In 2008, Marshall ran for the United States Senate seat being vacated by John Warner.[1] On May 31, 2008, Marshall finished second to Jim Gilmore by 66 votes out of over 10,000 cast at the Republican convention.[2] In January 2012, Marshall announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Jim Webb. He lost in the Republican June primary to George Allen, winning only 7 percent of the vote.[3]

Early life, education, and business career[edit]

Marshall received his education from Montgomery College, Belmont Abbey College, and California State University, Northridge. Before election to the Virginia House of Delegates in 1991, Marshall was a staffer for the American Life League, an organization which opposes all forms of abortion and birth control. After his election, he continued to work for the organization, including a stint as Executive Director in the mid-1990s [4] and now as a research consultant. He belongs to the All Saints Catholic Church in Manassas, Virginia. His sister is actress Paula Marshall.[citation needed]

Virginia House of Delegates[edit]


In 1991, Marshall ran for the House of Delegates 13th District seat, which was held by Democrat Joan Munford but left open after the 1990 redistricting process which caused Munford to run in the 12th District. Marshall faced Democrat Dale Reynolds and won handily, 58%-42%.[5] After winning the seat, Marshall has been challenged and has won in every election except 2003, when he ran unopposed. He won with 66% of the vote in 1993,[6] 80% in 1995,[7] 85% in 1997,[8] 61% in 1999,[9] 63% in 2001,[10] 55% in 2005,[11] 58% in 2007,[12] 61% in 2009,[13] 60% in 2011,[14] 51% in 2013, and 56% in 2015.[15]


Resolution of no confidence in Republican leadership

In September 2007, Marshall introduced a resolution "of no confidence in the policies of the current House of Delegates Republican Leadership as pursued from 2002 to the present". Among Marshall's complaints were that the Republican leaders were "Allowing government spending to increase at new record levels of spending" and that they were making policy decisions "in a small closed group and in a secretive manner without benefit of wide Caucus input or knowledge". For the latter, he said that the leadership, in late 2006, "prepared a transportation bill which Caucus members were expected to accept without discussion or critical input".[16] According to some state legislators, the only vote in favor of Marshall's resolution was that of Marshall himself.[17]

Abortion and birth control[edit]

In 1989, when Marshall was working as the research director of the American Life League, he told the Boston Globe that he opposes all forms of abortion and birth control that take effect after conception. "We're against the IUD and pills, too. They don't prevent ovulation and conception, they prevent implantation, which is abortion."[18]

According to the Globe, Marshall also "railed" against Norplant, a contraceptive not-yet-marketed at the time that is implanted under the skin and works for up to five years. "It's a real tribute to women's intelligence," Marshall told the reporter. "They feel so irresponsible they can't do something once a day?"[18] Norplant was eventually removed from the U.S. market for "business reasons". Because of health concerns, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended that women consider other forms of birth control.[19]

When asked about abortion in the case of incest, Marshall replied that sometimes incest is voluntary. In response to abortions in the case of rape, Marshall said, "Your origins should not be held against you [referring to the victim's unborn child]. The woman becomes a sin-bearer of the crime, because the right of a child predominates over the embarrassment of the woman."[18]

The measure, barring public colleges from making the morning-after pill available,[20] went on to pass 54-46 in the House but ultimately failed in the Senate.

State forced trans-vaginal ultrasound procedures[edit]

During the 2012 legislative session, Marshall and other Republicans supported a measure to require women in Virginia to undergo a trans-vaginal ultrasound procedure before being allowed to have a legal abortion. Public protests about this invasive procedure caused Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell to withdraw his support for the bill. It was then amended to require only an "external" ultrasound procedure. Critics argued it was not medically required or indicated, while other physicians and ultrasound technicians argued a trans-vaginal ultrasound is essential both before and after for an abortion to be performed safely.

Disabled children[edit]

Marshall was the subject of controversy in February 2010, when he made a statement regarding complications of abortion on disabled children at a press conference to oppose state funding of Planned Parenthood:[21]

McDonnell also criticized Marshall, saying on Washington area radio station WTOP that his comments were "poor and offensive and wrong", and that "we should do everything we can for young children who are disabled and provide the best safety net we can".[23]

Marshall initially claimed that his remarks had been misconstrued, but in a press conference on April 10, 2014, Marshall said he stood by his previous statements: “I don’t care. I mean, if I say something in public, I say it in public.” [24]


In September 2007, State Senator John Watkins was overwhelmingly voted the chair of Virginia Commission on Immigration, 16-3. Marshall, however, refused to give up his interim chair and "panel members had to wrestle the gavel away from Marshall". Marshall then challenged Watkins to a debate.[25]

Gay rights[edit]

Following Congress' repeal of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy in December 2010, Marshall proposed a bill to "ban gays from openly serving in the Virginia National Guard because he is worried about service members catching sexually transmitted diseases from gay troops."[26] According to the Washington Post, Marshall justified the legislation by saying: "If I needed a blood transfusion and the guy next to me had committed sodomy 14 times in the last month, I'd be worried," and "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 who's got eyes on me."[26]

The Virginia chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union wrote a letter to Marshall stating that "any attempt to exclude service members from the National Guard would be unconstitutional and ill-advised, and would certainly face a federal court challenge," and urging him to withdraw the bill.[27] Republican Governor Bob McDonnell also announced his opposition to the bill, saying that, while he disagreed with Congress' repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell: "We can't have two different systems in the federal and National Guard. ... Whatever the final guidelines of the Department of Defense I would expect the National Guard bureau in Virginia to adhere to those rules so we would have one set of rules for the entire military."[1] Reacting to the proposal, Ronald Bailey of Reason Magazine called Marshall "excreable" and "long[ed] for that glad day when the voters of the 13th district wise up and spare us the bigoted natterings of Marshall."[28]

Marshall has also expressed displeasure at the decision of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond's decision to fly a gay pride flag alongside the American flag to celebrate Gay Pride month. Marshall wrote a letter to Jeffrey M. Lacker, president of the bank, urging him to take down the flag, claiming that homosexuality “adds significantly to illness, increases health costs, promotes venereal diseases, and worsens the population imbalance relating to the number of workers supporting the beneficiaries of America’s Social Security and Medicare programs.”[29] The bank refused to take the flag down.

Marshall sponsored the Marshall-Newman Amendment to the state constitution that prohibited same-sex marriage as well as civil unions, domestic partnerships, and "other legal status to which is assigned the rights, benefits, obligations, qualities, or effects of marriage." It also prohibits the recognition of other states' such legal arrangements. It was approved in a 2006 referendum by 57% to 43%.[30] Speaking before an anti-abortion group in 2013, Marshall criticized the 2013 Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy's majority opinion which ruled the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. Marshall asserted that “For all I know, Kennedy’s a homosexual.You can’t be doing some of these things without this kind of conclusion.” [24]

In May 2012, Marshall led a successful effort to defeat the nomination of openly gay prosecutor Tracy Thorne-Begland to a district court judgeship, who was supported by both the governor and a bipartisan judicial committee. Marshall explained that he was worried about possible bias in the case of a bar-room fight between a homosexual and a heterosexual. In a subsequent CNN interview, he declared that "sodomy is not a civil right."[31] In January 2013, the House of Delegates held a new vote and confirmed the nomination of Thorne-Begland for judgeship. The vote again received bipartisan support. In response to the confirmation, Marshall said, "The members who switched are going to have a hard time explaining this to the Republican base...The conservatives are not going to be very pleased about this."[32]

In May 2014, Marshall filed paperwork for the impeachment of Virginia's Democratic attorney general, Mark Herring, on the grounds that Herring (as he had promised in his campaign) had refused to defend the Commonwealth's ban on same-sex marriage in federal court. The impeachment demand was swiftly rejected by his fellow Republican, Virginia Speaker of the House William J. Howell. Marshall also called for the impeachment of judges who might overturn the ban.[33][34]

In January 2015, Marshall introduced Virginia House Bill 1414 which would enable refusal of service to persons based on same-sex "marriage" or homosexual behavior by any public or private business in some way licensed by the state.[35] Critics suggest that the law, if enacted, could be used by hospitals to turn away patients, restaurants to refuse to serve and to remove students from school and compared it to Jim Crow laws. The Virginia Christian Alliance emphasized their position that the bill is critical to clergy and that they "fear for their job" should the bill fail.[36][37]


In 2006 the General Assembly passed House Bill 3202 [1] which authorized Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads to raise revenue through regional authorities, the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority and the Hampton Roads Transportation Authority respectively. Revenues raised by these authorities were intended to be used for regional transportation improvements.[38]

Marshall was strongly critical of this legislation during floor debate.[39] On the house floor in April 2007 he remarked, "I cannot vote for this bill because there are too many subterfuges in here trying to avoid responsibility and accountability. Members of these regional governments -- and they are regional governments -- don't even have to vote on this until December. What's interesting about December? It's a month and a half after the election. They can all promise 'I'm not going to vote to raise any taxes' and then afterward they can vote to do it."[40]

After the bill passed over his objections, Marshall led an effort in conjunction with elected officials in Loudoun County, Virginia to have it overturned by the courts. Marshall's brief argued that the state Constitution did not authorize the establishment of unelected government bodies with the authority to impose and collect taxes. Article 7, Section 7 of the Constitution of Virginia states: "No ordinance or resolution... imposing taxes, or authorizing the borrowing of money shall be passed except by a recorded affirmative vote of a majority of all members elected to the governing body."[41]

The Supreme Court of Virginia unanimously ruled this legislation unconstitutional on February 29, 2008, siding with Marshall.[42]

The ruling surprised many proponents of HB3202. One newspaper describe the effect of the ruling as "hitting the General Assembly like a bomb", and the director of the Hampton Roads Regional Transportation Authority characterized the decision as "nuclear".[44]

Bathroom Bill[edit]

Marshall introduced a bill to restrict bathroom use by transgender people in 2017.[45]

Guns in schools[edit]

In the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, Marshall proposed legislation that would require teachers or school staff to carry concealed handguns in public schools.[46]

Committee assignments[edit]

  • House Finance Committee
  • House Counties, Cities, and Towns Committee
  • House Science and Technology Committee[47]

U.S. Senate elections[edit]


On January 7, 2008, Marshall announced that he was running for John Warner's U.S. Senate seat. He was running against former Governor Jim Gilmore for the Republican nomination. Marshall ran well to Gilmore's right, claiming Gilmore is too soft on abortion. While Gilmore believes a woman should be able to choose whether to end her pregnancy in the first eight weeks, Marshall opposes abortion in all circumstances.[1][48]


After months of speculation, on January 12, 2012, Marshall confirmed that he would enter the race for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat held by the retiring Jim Webb.[49] He formally announced his candidacy on January 16, 2012, emailing supporters saying, "I can beat Tim Kaine," the presumptive Democratic nominee for the seat.[50] He lost in the June 12, 2012 Republican primary, coming in third out of four candidates with only 7 percent of the vote.[3]


  1. ^ a b c Craig, Tim (January 8, 2008). "Marshall to Challenge Gilmore For Republican Nomination". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 22, 2010. 
  2. ^ Lewis, Bob. Gilmore wins Va. GOP Senate nomination. WTOP-FM. 2008-05-31. Retrieved 2008-05-31.
  3. ^ a b Pershing, Ben(June 12, 2012). "Allen beats back 3 GOP rivals, grabs Senate nod in Virginia" The Washington Post.
  4. ^ Rozell, Mark J. "Growing Up Politically: The New Politics of the New Christian Right", in Smidt, Corwin E.; James M. Penning, eds. (1997). Sojourners in the Wilderness: The Christian Right in Comparative Perspective. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 240. Retrieved 2009-07-08. 
  5. ^ Candidate Data for 1991RVAHH13
  6. ^ Candidate Data for 1993RVAHH13
  7. ^ Candidate Data for 1995RVAHH13
  8. ^ Candidate Data for 1997RVAHH13
  9. ^ Candidate Data for 1999RVAHH13
  10. ^ Candidate Data for 2001RVAHH13
  11. ^ Candidate Data for 2005RVAHH13
  12. ^ 2007 election results Archived October 31, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
  13. ^ 2009 official election results Archived April 1, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  14. ^ 2011 official election results Archived May 20, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
  15. ^ Virginia Elections Database, General Elections for House of Delegates, District 13, years 1990-2016
  16. ^ Del. Bob Marshall’s “No Confidence” Resolution « Virginia Virtucon
  17. ^ Craig, Tim (November 21, 2007). "Virginia Politics Blog - Winners and Losers". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 24, 2010. 
  18. ^ a b c English, Bella. Equal Rights Gone Wrong, Boston Globe (July 12, 1989), p. 17. Retrieved from ProQuest Newsstand ld that coutabase on February 28, 2007 (Document ID: 61499507).
  19. ^ Roan, Shari. Norplant contraceptive off the market, The Los Angeles Times August 13, 2002.
  20. ^ "HB 1414 Morning-after pill; institutions of higher education prohibited from making such available.". Bills & Resolutions; 2004 session. Virginia General Assembly Legislative Information System. Archived from the original on 2005-05-06. Retrieved 2009-03-12. 
  21. ^ "Video: Del. Robert Marshall says after abortion nature takes its vengeance on subsequent children",The Washington Times. retrieved April 24, 2014.
  22. ^ "Legislator: Disabled kids are God's punishment". Capitol News Service. February 22, 2010. Retrieved February 22, 2010. 
  23. ^ Nolan, Tim (February 23, 2010). "McDonnell won't rule out running for vice-president; criticizes Marshall". Richmond Times-Dispatch. Archived from the original on February 26, 2010. Retrieved February 23, 2010. 
  24. ^ a b Sherfinski, David "Virginia Republican Bob Marshall stands by remarks that raise eyebrows" Washington Times, April 10, 2014, retrieved April 24, 2014.
  25. ^ Craig, Tim (September 25, 2007). "Watkins defeats Marshall". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on May 23, 2011. Retrieved February 22, 2010. 
  26. ^ a b Kumar, Anita and Heiderman, Rosalind (2010-12-21) Marshall said he worries about interactions between gays, straight troops in military, Washington Post
  27. ^ ACLU letter
  28. ^ Bailey, Ronald (2010-12-21) Virginia: Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Reason
  29. ^ Kumar, Anita (2011-06-03) Conservatives call on Federal Reserve to take down gay pride flag , Washington Post
  30. ^ Glidden, Melissa (August 11, 2006). "Cato Institute" (PDF). Washington, D.C. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 9, 2009. Retrieved February 22, 2010. 
  31. ^ Robert Marshall: Sodomy Is Not A Civil Right, Politico, May 17, 2012
  32. ^
  33. ^ Ford, Zach. "Lawmaker Seeks To Impeach Virginia Attorney General Over ‘Sodomy Marriage’" May 23, 2014
  34. ^ Marshall, Bob. "Herring Needs To Go: Impeachment Articles Introduced" The Marshall Message n.d.
  35. ^ "Virginia House Bill 1414". Virginia General Assembly. 
  36. ^ "Virginia Christian Alliance: 'Every pastor should fear for his job' if Conscience Bill fails". WAFF. Archived from the original on 2015-01-17. 
  37. ^ Stern, Mark Joseph. "A New Virginia Bill Would Let Schools, Hotels, Restaurants, and Hospitals Turn Gays Away". 
  38. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-02-10. Retrieved 2012-03-15. 
  39. ^ "Delegate Bob Marshall on HB3202 (Abuser Fees, NVTA)". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-09-10. 
  40. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-11-21. Retrieved 2008-02-27. 
  41. ^ "Constitution of Virginia". Archived from the original on 2012-09-18. Retrieved 2012-09-10. 
  42. ^ "Regional transportation authorities ruled unconstitutional | |". 2008-03-01. Retrieved 2012-09-10. 
  43. ^ S. Bernard Goodwyn (February 29, 2008). "Robert G. Marshall et al. v. Northern Virginia Transportation Authority" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-09-10. 
  44. ^ "Regional transportation authorities ruled unconstitutional | |". 2008-03-01. Retrieved 2012-09-10. 
  45. ^; "Virginia lawmaker proposes a ‘bathroom bill’ to restrict public bathroom use by transgender people". Washington Post. Retrieved 2017-06-14. 
  46. ^ Vozzella, Laura (December 19, 2012). "Va. bill would order schools to arm teachers". The Washington Post. 
  47. ^ "Bio for Robert G. Marshall". 1944-05-03. Archived from the original on 2012-07-08. Retrieved 2012-09-10. 
  48. ^ Gilmore abortion stance challenged - Search -[permanent dead link]
  49. ^ Marshall makes formal announcement of Va US Senate race bid, proclaims ‘I can beat Tim Kaine’
  50. ^ Del. Robert G. Marshall takes on George Allen in U.S. Senate primary

External links[edit]