Last month, Tracy Thorne-Begland, a prosecutor in Virginia, was rejected by the Republican-controlled Virginia Assembly for a position as a district judge because he is gay. Republican lawmaker Robert Marshall pushed for the resolution, calling Thorne-Begland an “aggressive activist” who would be incapable of following Virginia law because he would always side with homosexuals. But that’s not the way Chief Judge Richard Taylor of the Richmond Circuit Court sees it.
Despite clear discriminatory opposition by Republicans in the legislature, Taylor officially and courageously ordered Thorne-Begland’s appointment to serve as a District Court judge. Thorne-Begland will begin his new job on July 1st.
So how will Republicans respond to this news? So far, pretty well. According to a spokesman, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell congratulated Thorne-Begland for his appointment and calls him qualified to fill the position. But the State Assembly is likely to fight the appointment when the new session begins.
The Richmond Times Dispatch reports,
In a statement issued by Speaker William J. Howell, R-Stafford, House Republican leaders said they were “surprised and disappointed” by the Richmond Circuit Court’s action, arguing that the judges substituted their judgment for that of lawmakers. The statement did not, however, foreclose the possibility that the General Assembly would give Thorne-Begland fair consideration next year. “We will carefully evaluate applicants for this seat based on their professional credentials, legal temperament, and ability to interpret and apply the laws enacted by the General Assembly,” it concludes.”
Obviously, anti-gay Republicans intend to continue their crusade of discrimination against Thorne-Begland. If they choose to do this, they will be wasting valuable time and money that would be better spent on creating jobs. The fact that Thorne-Begland is openly gay should not be an issue in this appointment. Thorne-Begland is a prosecutor with an outstanding record, he served his country in the Navy, and he did all of this without bias against anyone. In fact, the only people who seem incapable of doing their jobs without bias right now are the Republicans in the state legislature.