Virginia axes nomination of openly gay judicial candidate
Update (5/15 at 9:10 a.m. Eastern): Virginia’s House of Delegates rejected the nomination of openly gay Richmond prosecutor Tracy Thorne-Begland last night, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Virginia Delegate Bob Marshall (R) announced on Saturday that he would challenge an openly gay judicial nominee because he does not support so-called traditional marriage.
The Virginia General Assembly meets on Monday to appoint several District Court judges, according to WTVR CBS 6. Marshall said he would seek to remove Richmond prosecutor Tracy Thorne-Begland from a list of proposed judicial appointments, calling him an “an aggressive activist for the pro-homosexual agenda.”
“After more than a week of pleading by some Republican Caucus members the House Republican leadership has so far declined to removed Mr. Thorne-Begland’s name from the block of nominees,” Marshall said in a statement. “If this situation remains unchanged, I will offer an amendment to remove his name.”
Marshall noted that Thorne-Begland has adopted two children with his male partner and has worked for LGBT rights organizations that support same sex marriage.
“Can this candidate swear the required oath to support our state 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 questioned.
It is not the first time Virginia lawmakers have questioned whether an openly gay individual could serve as a judge. In 2003, Virginia Governor and former Delegate Robert McDonnell (R) said that “certain homosexual conduct” could disqualify a person from being a judge because their lifestyle would be violating the state’s sodomy law.
“There is certain homosexual conduct that is in violation of the law,” McDonnell said. “It certainly raises some questions about the qualifications to serve as a judge.”
Later in 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Texas’ anti-sodomy law and similar laws in 13 other states.
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