Tracy Thorne-Begland Appointed To Richmond District Court, Becomes Virginia’s First Openly Gay Judge


Whoa. This is quite a turnaround.

This morning I mentioned that lawmakers and lawyers were putting pressure on the Circuit Court in Richmond, Virginia, to appoint openly gay prosecutor Tracy Thorne-Begland to the District Court, an appointment that was just rejected last month by the state's General Assembly.

Now comes word from both the Washington Post and a local CBS affiliate WTVR that Circuit Court judges have appointed Thorne-Begland for what may only be a temporary position. The General Assembly can overturn the decision when they return to session.

Democratic State Senator A. Donald McEachin released a statement congratulating Thorne-Begland, saying, "I have always had and continue to have the utmost confidence in Mr. Thorne-Begland’s ability to serve our community and I am gratified to see that the circuit court judges share my confidence.”

Not all Virginia lawmakers are so happy, however. Reliably conservative Republican Delegate Bob Marshall told WTVR that the decision puts the judges at odds with lawmakers who appointed them and that to put Thorne-Begland, a former Air Force pilot who spoke out against Don't Ask, Don't Tell before its repeal, was a "disgrace."

“To place someone on the board like that who, when he was offered an opportunity to rebut a presumption that he wasn’t committing a felony, under the uniform code of military justice, declined to do so, is a disgrace," said Marshall.


  1. Rob says

    This is not a “turn around.” It would be a turn around if the General Assembly had suddenly approved the appointment, which did not happen.

  2. Bob says

    A Gay Hero — I said hi to him on the street in West Hollywood a few years ago. He is around 5’9, 145 lbs, and his skin was fine.
    @Paul R — yes you needed to get our of Virginia, but you have not gotten the Virginia out of you, if you make bitchy picky comments from an online photo about someone who is not here as a porn model.

  3. Paul R says

    Umm, yeah sure Bob. Skin conditions can reflect serious medical problems. I went out of my way to indicate that I wasn’t trying to insult him.

  4. My2cents says

    This is big. When the judges overrule a legislative body, it’s very difficult to rebut, as it should be. Thorne-Begland is a hero, and the court-in Virginia- has concluded that it doesn’t matter that he’s gay!

  5. Peter says

    And those remarks coming from a loser, a mental throwback like Marshall. He is the disgrace of the past for VA which is mostly still living in it.

  6. Gene says

    I live in VA too. Richmond paper had a good article (6-13), on Del. Richard L. Morris, R-Isle of Wight who first voted no but after researching Tracy’s military record has changed his mind and wrote the Republican caucus pointing out why. I think Tracy has a good shot of getting re-appointed next year.

    The only thing I don’t understand is why the good people of Manassas, VA keep re-electing Del. Bob Marshall a small minded, first class bigot.

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