Va. House Confirms State’s First Openly Gay Judge

View Comments
Credit: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

Credit: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

Latest News

RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia’s House of Delegates voted Tuesday to confirm Tracy Thorne-Begland as the state’s first openly gay jurist, resolving a simmering social issue that last spring opened not only a deep partisan rift, but also a division among Republicans.

The House — with 68 GOP members — voted 66-28 with one abstention to confirm Thorne-Begland, a former Navy pilot who left the military after disclosing his sexual orientation and became a prosecutor for a six-year term in Richmond General District Court.

Also Tuesday, Thorne-Begland won easy confirmation with 28 votes in his favor in the state Senate, where Democrats and Republicans hold 20 seats apiece.

On May 12, in a vote taken at 1:13 a.m. at the end of a contentious 13-hour special session, Thorne-Begland fell 18 votes short of the necessary majority of 51 in the House.

Thirty-one delegates cast outright votes against him, and 36 cast abstention votes or briefly left their desks for Thorne-Begland’s vote.

On Monday, during 40 minutes of questioning before a panel of senators and delegates vetting judicial nominees, Thorne-Begland addressed criticisms raised last year and won commitments of support from lawmakers who opposed him or did not vote last spring.

Del. Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah, said he was impressed at Thorne-Begland’s answers about his exit from the Navy, where he was honorably discharged, and was confident that he would not be a judicial activist in hearing traffic offenses and minor crimes. In May, Gilbert voted on every other judge the House considered except Thorne-Begland.

Follow WNEW on Twitter.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

View Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,735 other followers