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Virginia Lawmaker: If You’re Gay, You’re Not Fit to Judge

Virginia Lawmaker: If You’re Gay, You’re Not Fit to Judge

A Virginia lawmaker has launched an ugly public campaign against a judicial nominee. Delegate Robert G. Marshall (R-Prince William) contends that Richmond prosecutor Tracy Thorne-Begland is unqualified to serve in the Virginia General District Court because Thorne-Begland is openly gay.

The Washington Post reports that Marshall issued a statement calling Thorne-Begland an “an aggressive activist for the pro-homosexual agenda” and vowed to sponsor an amendment removing Thorne-Begland’s name from the list of judicial nominees.

Thorne-Begland was discharged from the Navy under the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” in 1992 and has also been involved with the Human Rights Campaign and Equality Virginia. He and his partner have two adopted children.

“Can this candidate swear the required oath to support our state’s constitution if he has already indicated by his past actions that he does not support that section of our constitution barring same-sex legal relationships?” Marshall asked in his press release, according to Towleroad. Virginia’s constitution did not explicitly ban same-sex marriage until it was amended in 2006.

Marshall’s statement echoes accusations against former Judge Vaughn Walker in California. Equality opponents charged that Walker was unfit to rule about California’s Proposition 8, which revoked marriage rights for same-sex couples in that state, because Walker’s own same-sex relationship would bias him.

Delegate G. Manoli Loupassi (R-Richmond), who sponsored Thorne-Begland’s nomination, points out that the issue of same-sex marriage is very unlikely to arise in the General District Court. Loupassi explained to the Washington Post that the General District Court’s primary function is to establish guilt and innocence in misdemeanor cases as well as probable cause in felony cases.

“[Thorne-Begland] is not going to be making decisions relative to some of the hot-button social issues,” Loupassi said.

The list of judicial nominees also includes two former delegates, C. L. “Clay” Athey Jr. and Clarence E. “Bud” Phillips, who “took many strong positions” in public, said Loupassi. “You can’t get any more political than being an elected political official … And we’re approving [Athey Jr. and Phillips].”

Loupassi added that Thorne-Begland was “absolutely well qualified” and that Thorne-Begland’s public statements about LGBT rights will not affect his ability to serve.

The Washington Post reports that Thorne-Begland has declined to comment.

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83 comments

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8:00AM PST on Feb 18, 2013

Just goes to show even Judges can be morons.

5:08AM PDT on May 21, 2012

I think the guy who is "anti-gay" is the one who SHOULD NOT be in a position of "serving" the people of our country. Our Constitution grants us many rights, and it seems that the right-wing are against most of our rights and have the Republican-leaning Supreme Court interpret our Constitution to their own liking. Republicans are at war with women, with gays, with the poor, the aged, the disabled, the sick, children, etc. They are working hard to DESTROY everything in this country, from women's rights to Unions and including our environment, our workplaces, our jobs. I haven't seen anything good come from a Republican in DECADES. They have put this country (and others) into the worst economic condition it's ever been in, except for the 1%.

People need to wake up and stop voting against their own best interests and against our country. Be a patriot, and GET RID OF these Republicans who wish us nothing but harm. They've made it pretty clear what their goals are, and that is to relieve us of everything we have, our jobs, homes, bank accounts and our rights. They will end Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare and any other agency that we have to help people in this country. The restrictions they plan on putting on women and minorities will change this country forever and they will rule over us like slave masters.

7:19AM PDT on May 19, 2012

How truly sad there are still ignorant people out there! Everyone was created equal,,Remember!

2:23AM PDT on May 18, 2012

Well then he should recluse himself for being a biased homophobic bigot

2:33PM PDT on May 17, 2012

LGBT groups often conveniently use the argument that homophobes are as guilty of discrimination as anti-black racists, but the real truth is this, the LGBT are free riding on the back of the black peoples just war against REAL AND UNJUST RACIAL DISCIMINATION: I believe that homosexuals who use this argument to further their own cause are GUILTY of blatant racism by claiming that their struggle for human rights is equal to that of the struggle for equality by black people, because what they are really saying is; being black isn’t natural.
If we look at evolution we clearly see that being black is more natural than being white and most definitely more natural than being homosexual, transsexual or bisexual, so every time LGBT use racial discrimination as a weapon to beat anyone who object the their lifestyle, they could be charged with downright racial discrimination.

2:29PM PDT on May 17, 2012

LGBT groups often conveniently use the argument that homophobes are as guilty of discrimination as anti-black racists, but the real truth is this, the LGBT are free riding on the back of the black peoples just war against REAL AND UNJUST RACIAL DISCIMINATION: I believe that homosexuals who use this argument to further their own cause are GUILTY of blatant racism by claiming that their struggle for human rights is equal to that of the struggle for equality by black people, because what they are really saying is; being black isn’t natural.
If we look at evolution we clearly see that being black is more natural than being white and most definitely more natural than being homosexual, transsexual or bisexual, so every time LGBT use racial discrimination as a weapon to beat anyone who object the their lifestyle, they could be charged with insulting racial discrimination.

1:01PM PDT on May 17, 2012

Viriginia land of bigots.

12:49AM PDT on May 17, 2012

If you are a homophobic bigot you are not fit to be a judge! Plaina s imple. Predjudice of any kind is unacceptable for a judge. My bet is that this is not his only predjudice.

6:10PM PDT on May 16, 2012

Virginia is a hellhole. Don't vacation there or go to conventions there.

5:43PM PDT on May 16, 2012

Well in decent society, if you are an asshole bigot then you are not fit to be a lawmaker.

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