HRC Blog

Virginia Attorney Blocked from Court Appointment for Being Gay

A highly qualified Virginia attorney has been blocked from judicial appointment because he is gay.

Delegate Bob Marshall (R-Prince William) led the antigay charge against Richmond’s Tracy Thorne-Begland, claiming his support for marriage equality and past activism against “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” made him unfit to serve as a Richmond District judge.

Thorne-Begland, a former Naval officer, came out on ABC’s Nightline in 1992, resulting in an honorable discharge under DADT. Marshall claims that Thorne-Begland’s decision to speak out amounted to “cheating the country out of the investment in him.”

Marshall also stated that, since Thorne-Begland considers himself married to his long-time partner, his “life is a contradiction to the requirement of submission to the constitution.”

Openly gay Virginia Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) called debate in the House of Delegates “homophobic and embarrassing.”

Thirty-one Republicans voted against Thorne-Begland, with many more abstaining.

Ellen Kahn, Director of HRC’s Family Project, debated Marshall last year on LGBT protections in Virginia adoption law. Read more here.

Photo by Chris Ijams/University of Richmond

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