A Republican congressman in Virginia received a no-confidence vote from a local GOP committee after he officiated a same-sex wedding earlier this month.
On July 14, Rep. Denver Riggleman, (R-VA) married two campaign volunteers, Alex Pisciarino and Anthony LeCounte, at King Family Vineyards, about 15 miles from Charlottesville.
“I’m a Congressman. I represent everyone,” Riggleman, 49, told the Washington Post after the ceremony. “And I’ll tell you this, really, love is love, if you’re gonna talk about it that way. So that’s what I did, and I was just so proud that I was able to do that.”
But it didn’t sit well with pols in the 5th Congressional District Republican Committee, who tried unsuccessfully to officially reprimand Riggleman during a closed meeting on Saturday.
Then, during an open session, committee member Wendell Johnson introduced a motion to express formal disapproval. “I move that the committee censure Denver Riggleman for failing to uphold the Republican Party platform, [which] states ‘marriage is between one man and one woman.’ ”
Committee chair Melvin Adams ruled the motion was out of order—but another member, Diana Shores, motioned to overrule Adams. She only garnered four votes in favor, killing the effort.
But Shores pressed on: On Monday evening she led a motion of no confidence in Rep. Riggleman with the Cumberland County Republican Committee.
“I make this motion of no confidence in Congressman Denver Riggleman for his recent act in officiating a homosexual marriage and his lack of support for stronger border security and immigration policies,” Shores’ motion read.
The motion reportedly passed unanimously.
It was also Shores’ last as chair of the committee. She is moving to Prince Edward County, about 30 miles away.
In a statement on the 5th Congressional District Republican Committee website, Melvin Adams insisted the group “is absolutely committed to inclusiveness,” adding that “we do not discriminate against anyone and all are welcome to join us to promote our party platform and support our candidates.”
But he reiterated the committee’s commitment to opposing marriage equality, quoting the national Republican Party Platform.
“[W]e do not accept the Supreme Court’s redefinition of marriage and we urge its reversal, whether through judicial reconsideration or a constitutional amendment returning control over marriage to the states.”
In a statement Monday, Riggleman’s spokesperson said the first-term congressman was happy to officiate “and he is proud of these two young people who found their life partner.”
John Findlay, executive director of the Republican Party of Virginia told NBC News that he intended to take no action against Riggleman, adding that he doubted that the Cumberland committee “even had a proper quorum to take” a no-confidence vote.
Riggleman has not publicly addressed the vote nor responded to requests for an interview by Newsweek. According to his Twitter account, he is at the U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona, riding with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers.
It’s believed he is the first Republican in either house of Congress to officiate a same-sex wedding. In 2013, former U.S. president George H.W. Bush served as an official witness at the same-sex wedding of two longtime friends.