Virginia Blocks Gay Prosecutor From State Court

Chief Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Tracy Thorne-Begland appears to have been successful in every aspect of his life: as a Navy fighter-pilot, a top prosecutor, and the father to two twin children. With bipartisan support he would have appeared a shoe in for a state judgeship. However, he was denied in a vote of 33-31 by the Virginia House of Delegates because of one other fact — Thorne-Begland is gay. For gays and lesbians, the state seal (which is my favorite among the states) now has a more sinister meaning.

Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael N. Herring correctly stated that “It’s hard to think about what happened in the General Assembly and not conclude that it’s a form of bigotry.”

Anti-gay activists like the Family Foundation opposed him and legislators insisted that he might push for some “activist agenda” — presumably enforcing some form of gay justice whatever that might be.

There will come a day when the votes of these 33 legislators will be held up as an example of the perverse period in which we currently live — a time when a talented lawyer was denied a judgeship solely due to who he loved as a partner.
Source: Times Dispatch

35 thoughts on “Virginia Blocks Gay Prosecutor From State Court”

  1. Seems to me that the point is that, as a gay man, he has participated in activities that are against the law in Virginia, thereby making him at least a scofflaw and at most, a criminal. That would be making a ‘criminal’ into a judge. While we could debate about judges being criminals, the fact still remains that if he is gay and acted on those desires, he has broken the law in Virginia and therefore is not eligible to be a judge. NOW. Before anyone gets their panties in a wad, I happen to be a gay man. The problem here is NOT the fact that he is gay, but the fact that, given the law, he is a law-breaker. The LAW ITSELF is the problem.

    1. You are WAY behind the times and have never heard of Lawrence have you? Gay sex is NOT illegal even in VA now!

  2. Justice Holmes 1, May 16, 2012 at 8:15 am

    “It is time to rid the bench of all the heterosexual white males who have obviously been pushing their heterosexual white male agenda for over 200 years while they haveen serving as judges across this great country of ours!!”

    Oh, yea.

  3. @Blouise

    It gets even crazier. The suburbanites don’t want to “subsidize” the busses that poor people in the city use, but poor people in the city have to subsidize the roads that connect the suburbs to jobs.

    If you drive a car, the “user fees” (licensing and gas tax) only covers about 40% of your transportation costs, but if you take a bus, your fare pays about 80%.

    The federal gas tax is not indexed to inflation, and was last raised by a nickel in 1993. It would need to be raised about 40¢ per gallon for federal highways to be financially solvent (much less pay for expansion or improvement). In Europe, national gas taxes typically run about $2.50 per gallon.

    It’s getting harder and harder to deny that most Republicans are literally delusional, while most Democrats are in denial. Assuming about 50% of Americans vote, and estimating 1/3 of those voters are independents, I’d say about 30% of Americans are cracked.

    I’m way past being amused by this…

  4. While I think it is absurd and outrageous for Virginia to deny a very well qualified person a judicial post because of his sexual preference, I do have to note the fact that he is also a father and divorced. My question is would he have become a father if we had gay marriage? If not then society would miss out on having two fine children and thus I can see a reason for the state not granting gay marriage licenses.

    I think civil unions are a better option and crafting such a thing would lead to a good discussion on the role of marriage and what benefits should be granted by civil unions. Such a union should also be available to all persons too, not just gays, and possibly those who are currently married.

  5. Virginia: Woodrow Wilson’s home state before he truked north to be Governor of Jersey. Wilson, the guy who held a celebration of the battle of Gerrysburg and barred any black veterans from attending. Segregation Now, Segregation Forever!

  6. SwM,

    It’s quite humorous when one looks at the actual figures. For instance, Delaware contributed over 200% of it’s GDP in 2009. Mississippi and West Virginia received more than 200% of their GDP in payments from the federal government. (figures taken from an article in the Economist)

    There is a very strong correlation between a state voting for Republicans and receiving more in federal spending than its residents pay to the federal government in taxes. Those in blue states are subsidizing those in red states. Both red and blue states appear to be acting politically in opposition to their economic interests. Blue states are voting for candidates who are likely to continue the policies of red state subsidization while red states are voting for candidates who profess a desire to reduce federal spending and presumably red state subsidization.

    It’s nuts.

  7. Blouise, Rick Perry said he would leave. He is in denial about how much federal aid this state receives.

  8. “Just another reason to wish for a do over on that whole secession thing- we should have let them all go and good riddance to them all.” (lotta)

    The problem is that now so many of them rely heavily on the welfare of federal tax dollars flowing into their states that they’d fight like hell to stay IN the Union.

  9. The state seal looks like a cartoon or a really bad Franklin Mint-type collectible plate.

  10. Just another reason to wish for a do over on that whole secession thing- we should have let them all go and good riddance to them all.

  11. Oh no, he might try and apply the law equally to gay people. That’d be horrible, because then they’d be treated equally, and the Bible says that being gay is as bad as eating lobster.

  12. Elaine M., that would be my reading. I’ve lived in the Old Dominion far too long to be surprised by this.

  13. Virginia is for lovers! Y’all *

    * check with the Family Foundation for the redneck-approved definitions before voting.

  14. From John Locke’s Second Treatise:

    Sect. 199. AS usurpation is the exercise of power, which another hath a
    right to; so tyranny is the exercise of power beyond right, which no
    body can have a right to. And this is making use of the power any one
    has in his hands, not for the good of those who are under it, but for
    his own private separate advantage. When the governor, however intitled,
    makes not the law, but his will, the rule; and his commands and actions
    are not directed to the preservation of the properties of his people,
    but the satisfaction of his own ambition, revenge, covetousness, or any
    other irregular passion.

    Sect. 201. It is a mistake, to think this fault is proper only to
    monarchies; other forms of government are liable to it, as well as that:
    for wherever the power, that is put in any hands for the government of
    the people, and the preservation of their properties, is applied to
    other ends, and made use of to impoverish, harass, or subdue them to the
    arbitrary and irregular commands of those that have it; there it
    presently becomes tyranny, whether those that thus use it are one or
    many. Thus we read of the thirty tyrants at Athens, as well as one at
    Syracuse; and the intolerable dominion of the Decemviri at Rome was
    nothing better.

  15. It is time to rid the bench of all the heterosexual white males who have obviously been pushing their heterosexual white male agenda for over 200 years while they haveen serving as judges across this great country of ours!! If the legislators of Virginia who voted against this very qualified candidate based on their belief he would push a “gay” agenda the rest of us should be very afraid that current judges are doing their best to push their agenda too. This is such trash it would be laughable if it wasn’t the type of policy rationale that has overtaken any rational debate in this country.

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