Virginia Delegate Bob Marshall has insisted that “sodomy is not a civil right” in the course of explaining his opposition to a gay judicial nominee.

Marshall led the effort to block Tracy Thorne-Begland from serving as a general district court judge in Richmond. The Republican-controlled Virginia House of Delegates this week voted down Thorne-Begland's nomination with a 31-33 vote.

Appearing Thursday on cabler CNN's Starting Point, Marshall expanded on his objections, arguing that Thorne-Begland's past advocating against “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” would interfere with his objectivity as a judge.

“He can be a prosecutor if he wants to, but we don't want advocates as judges,” Marshall said.

Thorne-Begland came out publicly as a gay Naval officer 20 years ago and was discharged under the military's now-defunct policy barring open gay service, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.

Marshall, an ardent opponent of gay rights, was challenged on the show when he said: “Dr. Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks never took an oath of office that they broke. Sodomy is not a civil right. It's not the same as the Civil Rights movement.” (The video is embedded in the right panel of this page. Visit our video library for more videos.)

Marshall, a Republican, made headlines in 2010 when he introduced legislation which would ban gay and bisexual troops from serving openly in the state's National Guard after repeal of “Don't Ask, Don't Tell.”