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