The Virginia General Assembly on
Tuesday confirmed Tracy Thorne-Begland, an openly gay judge, to serve
on the Richmond General Circuit Court.
According to ThinkProgress.com,
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
on cabler CNN, Marshall insisted that “sodomy is not a civil
right” in the course of explaining his opposition to the judicial
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
“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.”