Tracy Thorne-Begland served his country as a Navy pilot until he was discharged for coming out and declaring his sexuality. Being discharged from the Navy, however, did nothing to slow him down. He began a new career as an attorney where he rose to become one of the top prosecutors in the city of Richmond, Virginia. Because of his great work, he was sponsored for a low-level trial judgeship. He seemed like a perfect fit for the job until Delegate Bob Marshall (R -Manassas) wanted Thorne-Begland, who is openly gay, removed from consideration because of the prosecutor’s past involvement with the gay rights movement…most notably his network interview about “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Marshall believes that Thorne-Begland’s sexual orientation would conflict with his ability to hold up the state’s constitution. Marshall says:
I don’t even think it’s proper to put his name forward because of his behavior. 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. If his lifestyle is exactly contrary to that… I don’t see how he could do that.
The Virginia House of Delegates voted early Tuesday morning giving Thorne-Begland 33 yes votes, 31 no votes and 10 abstentions in the early-morning vote. He needed 51 votes to be approved as what gay-rights advocates said would be the first openly-gay judge in Virginia. Thorne-Begland was the only nominee not approved. It’s important to note that while it’s illegal to discriminate against someone because of age, religion, race, ethnicity etc…an employer may LEGALLY discriminate against someone for their sexual orientation without fear of consequence.
So basically Bob Marshall is a homophobic bigot who is making Thorne-Begland pay the consequences for acknowledging his sexual orientation publicly rather than keeping quiet and living each day as a lie. This is truly unacceptable and makes me angry Whats next banning woman judges?
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