Gay prosecutor rejected for Virginia judgeship

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The Judicial Update

May 15, 2012

RICHMOND, Virginia: The Virginia House of Delegates voted Tuesday to defeat the judicial election of Tracy Thorne-Begland, Richmond's chief deputy commonwealth's attorney. Thorne-Begland, who is openly gay, had been nominated for a judgeship on the District Court in Richmond.[1] He needed 51 votes to secure the post, but his confirmation was defeated 33-31. Virginia state Senator Donald McEachin and Virginia state Delegates Jennifer McClellan and Manoli Loupassi had sponsored Thorne-Begland's nomination, which had been approved by courts committees in both the House and Senate.

In the current legislative session, Thorne-Begland is the only one of three dozen judicial nominees who has not been elected to a judgeship. He would have been Virginia's first openly gay judge. Delegate Bob Marshall opposed Thorne-Begland's nomination, calling the prosecutor "a homosexual activist" and saying "I don’t even think it’s proper to put his name forward because of his behavior." Openly gay state Senator Adam Ebbin said he was "embarrassed and disgusted" by the House's vote against Thorne-Begland.[2]

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