If you’re openly gay, you’re not fit to be a judge in Virginia, or at least that’s what Republican Delegate Bob Marshall said about judicial nominee Tracy Thorne-Begland early last week.
Thorne-Begland had received bipartisan support to serve on Virginia’s General District Court, but Marshall led a campaign against the Richmond prosecutor based on Thorne-Begland’s sexuality as well as his previous involvement with the Human Rights Campaign and Equality Virginia.
When pressed for comment during an interview with CNN, Marshall defended his campaign against Thorne-Begland by dismissing Thorne-Begland’s opinions about equality — and the LGBT rights movement itself.
“Sodomy is not a civil right, it’s not the same as the civil rights movement,” Marshall said. Apparently, Marshall is unfamiliar with Lawrence v. Texas, the Supreme Court ruling that struck down the anti-sodomy laws.
According to The Advocate, Marshall’s efforts successfully turned the other Republicans in the House of Delegates against Thorne-Begland. The House voted 33-31 against Thorne-Begland, who required 51 votes to be appointed. The Richmond Dispatch-Times called it a “late-hour lobbying offensive by social conservatives.”
Thorne-Begland, who has two adopted children with his partner, would have been Virginia’s first openly gay judge. He is the only judicial nominee not to be appointed by the House of Delegates.
“I would like to thank my sponsors, Senator Donald McEachin, and Delegates Jennifer McClellan and Manoli Loupassi for their support,” Thorne-Begland said in a statement.
Photo credit: Elliott Brown (Creative Commons)