Legislators confirm first openly gay state judge
The Virginia General Assembly voted on Tuesday to confirm Virginia’s first openly gay Circuit Court judge after a controversial battle during the 2012 legislative session over Tracy Thorne-Begland’s sexual orientation.
“I applaud my colleagues in the House and Senate who voted in support of Tracy Thorne-Begland,” said Del. Charniele Herring. “Tracy’s record speaks for itself. His years of service to our country as well as the Commonwealth should not go without notice. Virginians deserve the best and brightest on the bench regardless of sexual orientation.”
“Nearly a year overdue, the General Assembly did the right thing in confirming Mr. Thorne-Begland to the bench,” said Sen. Mark Herring. “Unfortunately, many Republican legislators, including both Republican candidates for Attorney General, once again bowed to extremists in their party and refused to vote to confirm a highly qualified prosecutor and veteran simply because of his sexual orientation.”
“I am proud to say that today Virginia reversed last year’s shameful rejection of the imminently qualified Tracy Thorne Begland,” Sen. Ralph Northam stated. “Unfortunately, many of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle felt they were unable to stand and be counted as they were elected to do, because of a person’s sexual orientation. I would say to them that our commonwealth must be committed to the principles of equality for all and that we will not tolerate discrimination of any kind.”
Del. Jennifer McClellan added, “The Richmond delegation, legal community, and Circuit Court Judges unanimously stood behind Tracy Thorn-Begland as the most qualified candidate for the Richmond General District Court. He has served us well over the past 6 months on the bench, and I am pleased that the Virginia General Assembly elected him to the bench today.”
“Judge Tracy Thorne-Begland served in the United States Navy with distinction,” said Del. Joe Morrisey.”Indeed, he was a decorated naval aviator. His work as a prosecutor was nothing short of stellar. Finally, he has served the last seven months on the bench in exemplary fashion.”