The Virginia General Assembly on Tuesday confirmed Tracy Thorne-Begland, an openly gay judge, to serve on the Richmond General Circuit Court.

According to, the House of Delegates and the Senate approved a package of judges which included Thorne-Beglandm, the state's first openly gay judge.

Thorne-Begland was appointed to the court in June to fill a vacancy on the bench after lawmakers rejected his nomination, some say because of his sexual orientation.

The interim appointment infuriated Delegate Robert G. Marshall, a Republican who led the charge against Thorne-Begland's nomination.

Appearing on cabler CNN, Marshall insisted that “sodomy is not a civil right” in the course of explaining his opposition to the judicial nominee.

He labeled Thorne-Begland “a homosexual activist” for publicly coming out as a gay Naval officer 20 years ago, a move which resulted in his discharge for violating the military's now-defunct “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” policy. Marshall was among the 28 Delegates who voted against Thorne-Begland.

Virginia Equality applauded Thorne-Begland's confirmation.

“This is a big step forward after last year's actions made embarrassing national headlines,” the group said in a statement. “Equality Virginia is pleased that the House of Delegates could see that Thorne-Begland is a qualified candidate with integrity and a long history of public service. Thorne-Begland has served his country and his city with honor and unquestioned competence first as a Navy pilot and then as a prosecutor. We're glad the House of Delegates took a second look at his candidacy and this time the decision was based on his qualifications and not on who he is or who he loves. While Thorne-Begland has been given another opportunity, without employment protections, most Virginians do not get a second chance at their jobs after being fired or not hired because of their sexual orientation.”