Virginia Legislature Confirms Once-Blocked Openly Gay Judge Tracy Thorne-Begland

Judge Tracy Thorne-Begland

The Virginia House of Delegates and Senate approved a package of judges Tuesday, including Tracy Thorne-Begland. The House of Delegates had blocked his nomination in May over his sexual orientation, but endorsed him by a 66-28 margin this time.

In May, House Republicans blocked the confirmation of Thorne-Begland, a former Richmond prosecutor and Navy pilot, to a District Court judgeship. Delegate Bob Marshall (R) led the opposition, calling Thorne-Begland “a homosexual activist.” The House’s discrimination was widely panned and the Richmond Circuit Court opted to appoint him to the vacancy the House of Delegates had left open by rejecting his nomination.

With his temporary appointment about to expire, the House Republicans changed their mind and allowed his confirmation. The Senate unanimously approved the package moments later, meaning Thorne-Begland will get a full six-year term.