Tracy Thorne-Begland on Friday was sworn in as a judge on the Richmond General Circuit Court, making him the state's first openly gay judge.

Thorne-Begland was confirmed by the Virginia General Assembly in January, but his nomination was vociferously protested by conservatives.

A crowd of roughly 200 attended Thorne-Begland's swearing-in ceremony, which took place in the Richmond City Council chambers. Among those attending were Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones, Thorne-Begland's partner of 20 years, Michael, and their two children, CBS 6 reported.

Thorne-Begland was appointed to the court in June to fill a vacancy on the bench after lawmakers rejected his nomination.

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.