Bob Marshall | Law - Gay, LGBT | News | Virginia

Virginia Lawmaker Vows to Block Judge Nominee Because He's Gay


Readers of this site will be familiar with Virginia Delegate Bob Marshall (below, right).

MarshallHe's the guy who last year launched an unsuccessful campaign demanding the Richmond Federal Reserve Bank remove its Gay Pride flag. He also launched an unsuccessful attempt to block gays from serving in the Virginia National Guard.

Now he's trying to remove Tracy Thorne-Begland (above), a Richmond attorney, from a list of proposed District Court judicial appointments because Thorne-Begland is gay.

Says Marshall in a press release:

The judgeship nominee is Tracy Thorne-Begland, a Richmond attorney identified by Marshall (R., Manassas) as “an aggressive activist for the pro-homosexual agenda.”

“After more than a week of pleading by some Republican Caucus members,” Marshall said, “the House Republican leadership has so far declined to removed Mr. Thorne-Begland’s name from the block of nominees,” Marshall said.  “If this situation remains unchanged, I will offer an amendment to remove his name.”

Marshall questioned whether Thorne-Begland can swear to the oath required of Virginia’s judges in which they pledge to abide by the state’s constitution “if he has already indicated by his past public actions that he does not support its provision ‘that only a union between one man and one woman may be a marriage valid in or recognized by this Commonwealth and its political subdivision.’”

Thorne-Begland lives with a ‘partner” with whom he has a formalized homosexual union, Marshall said, and they have two adopted children.  Thorne-Begland has been active in the national homosexual advocacy group, Human Rights Campaign, and with Equality Virginia, of which he is a former board member.

Marshall pointed out that Thorne-Begland was serving as a Navy aviation lieutenant in 1992 when he went on national television to disclose his homosexuality, then was discharged under the “don’t ask, don’t tell” military regulation on homosexuality then in force.  Thorne-Begland sued the Defense Department, alleging that his right to free speech had been restricted, but he lost the case on appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit in Richmond.

“Mr. Throne-Begland joined the Navy under clear rules on homosexuality that he challenged when he sued the Department of Defense to change DADT,” Marshall said.

“Would Mr. Thorne-Begland also challenge rules that apply to Virginia courts?  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?

“While our judges and judicial candidates certainly have a right to free speech, they do not have the right to disregard the Virginia constitution”

The Washington Post adds:

Marshall’s statement followed one issued Friday by the Family Foundation of Virginia, which also contended that Thorne-Begland was unfit for the bench because he had spoken out against “don’t ask, don’t tell” and in favor of same-sex marriage.

Thorne-Begland declined to comment over the weekend, saying via e-mail that it would be improper for him to do so as a judicial nominee. He referred questions to his sponsor in the House of Delegates, Del. G. Manoli Loupassi (R-Richmond).

Loupassi said that Thorne-Begland was “absolutely well qualified” for the post and that his public statements about gay rights do nothing to diminish his fitness for the bench.

Loupassi noted that two former delegates who’ve made their own public statements on a variety of political issues — C. L. “Clay” Athey Jr., a Republican from Warren; and Clarence E. “Bud” Phillips, a Democrat from Southside — are also among the nominees under consideration.

Feed This post's comment feed


  1. Marshall badly needs to go and Mr. Begland looks highly qualified to kick his ass. I hope he does.

    Posted by: UFFDA | May 14, 2012 1:12:26 PM

  2. Just remember this when the right says "we have nothing against gay people". This isn't just about "re-defining marriage"...they can flower it up any way they like but at the end of the day they just don't like gay people. At all. They never will.

    Posted by: WOW | May 14, 2012 1:13:01 PM

  3. I love how it's always *us* who have that "aggressive activist agenda". Get a grip.

    Posted by: Marty | May 14, 2012 1:13:18 PM

  4. When I first saw the pics I assumed the republican was the gay guy. Go figure.

    Posted by: Michael | May 14, 2012 1:20:58 PM

  5. It's always so wonderful to live in Virginia. I feel so well-represented by my legislators.

    Posted by: Larry | May 14, 2012 1:21:55 PM

  6. Great article about Begland:

    Posted by: Jay M | May 14, 2012 1:31:35 PM

  7. "“Would Mr. Thorne-Begland also challenge rules that apply to Virginia courts? 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?

    “While our judges and judicial candidates certainly have a right to free speech, they do not have the right to disregard the Virginia constitution”"

    This is insane.

    And I don't mean the normal Republican crazy.

    I mean completely ignoring the basic, fundamental fact that the legal profession often entails challenging laws. Impugning a lawyer for challenging a law if it's in their or their client's best interest is impugning the underlying job description.

    This isn't a valid argument. It's a statement of such willful ignorance

    Posted by: Nat | May 14, 2012 1:31:45 PM

  8. How do these people keep getting re-elected? Obviously there is a base that supports them. That is the true shame in this mess; there are people who feel they need this kind of representation above all other issues.

    Posted by: 99% | May 14, 2012 1:37:24 PM

  9. @ 99% ;

    You hit the nail on the head..........there must be a low life uneducated reservoir of hate and bigotry which is tapped into by these Right wing is like a one trick pony, trot out the bigot card, you'll always have their votes.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | May 14, 2012 1:50:57 PM

  10. There must be a reason why Bob Marshall hates gay people so much.

    Look for his name to be added to this list one of these days:

    Posted by: Danny in the East Village | May 14, 2012 2:36:43 PM

  11. So here we have Tracy Thorne, a talented, patriotic man who gets into the Naval Academy at Annapolis and graduates near the top of his class. He wants to lend his talent to the service of his country, but DADT derails his entire career and takes him out of the Navy. He rebounds. He goes to law school and graduates and again seeks to serve his country, this time as a judge. And again he has to listen to people tell him that he isn't wanted.

    Posted by: Brett | May 14, 2012 3:02:33 PM

  12. Actually, Tracy, whom I am honored to know, did not attend Annapolis, but is no less a great gay American and patriot who sacrificed his career as a Navy Top Gun to try to help end the ban. [He goes by the name Thorne-Begland as does his husband Michael.]

    Posted by: Michael Bedwell | May 14, 2012 3:23:05 PM

  13. I sent Bob a little email to let him know what I thought about his perpetual campaign against the gays. Feel free to do the same...

    Posted by: Jack | May 14, 2012 4:02:48 PM

  14. Perhaps someone should explain this situation to "that don't happen here" Allen West:

    Posted by: George | May 14, 2012 5:24:59 PM

  15. got it. so it's class-warfare only when the poor fight back.

    it's only being "un-American" if you criticize a white Republican President.

    and "activist judges" aren't "activist judges" if the do what the conservative right wants.

    this is the problem with Republicans - they never know what they're talking about, and every other word contradicts their claimed stances to freedom, fairness and all that jazz.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | May 14, 2012 5:30:33 PM

  16. So, Bob Marshall, who somehow avoided military service, thinks that a former fighter pilot is unfit to serve as a judge. Bob, you have no idea what it means to serve your country - you are a fraud.

    Posted by: PeteP | May 16, 2012 11:49:14 AM

Post a comment


« «John Travolta Looks for a New Masseur: VIDEO« «