Virginia Appoints First Openly Gay Judge
Tracy Thorne-Begland, an openly gay prosecutor, has been appointed to the General District Court bench by the Richmond Circuit Court judges after the House of Delegates initially rejected his nomination last month.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that Throne-Begland is the first openly gay judge in Virginia. He will occupy the bench in the 13th Judicial District in the Manchester courthouse starting July 1.
"I am humbled by the circuit court’s decision," Thorne-Begland said. "I look forward to serving the citizens of the city of Richmond as a jurist and, over the coming months, I hope that my service provides comfort to all Virginians that I remain committed to the faithful application of the laws and constitutions of Virginia and the United States of America."
In May, the Virginia General Assembly, which is ruled by Republicans, blocked Thorne-Begland’s nomination. The House of Delegates rejected his nomination by a vote of 33-31 with 10 abstentions.
Supporters were pleased that Thorne-Begland was finally appointed as a judge and claimed he was initially rejected because of his sexual orientation.
"Questions have been raised about his character, his record, his qualifications," Delegate Jennifer L. McLellan (D) said. "Yet there are some who say he’s not qualified simply because he told the truth about who he was, which many believe was the right thing to do."