Tracy Thorne-Begland served 20 years in the Navy and, later, became one of the top prosecutors in Richmond, Virginia.
He was proposed for a low-level trial judgeship by a bipartisan mix of state lawmakers. However, a late-hour lobbying offensive by social conservatives prevailed in the GOP-controlled House of Delegates.
The Virginia House of Delegates fell 18 votes short of the 51 needed to appoint Thorne-Begland to the state bench. Had he been appointed, Thorne-Begland would have been the first openly gay judge on the Virginia bench.
Delegate Bob Marshall was one of the key opponents against Thorne-Begland.
“I don’t even think it’s proper to put his name forward because of his behavior,” said Marshall, who called Thorne-Begland “a homosexual activist,” in a press release.
Thorne-Begland has been nominated to serve as a judge for Richmond’s General District Court, but, Marshall challenges the nomination on the grounds of the prosecutor’s sexual orientation.
“We have a constitution which says marriage is between one man and one woman and if he’s taking an oath, he has to uphold and defend that as a judge,” said Marshall.
“If his lifestyle is exactly contrary to that… I don’t see how he could do that,” he said.