Equality Virginia’s James Parrish released the following statement:
Equality Virginia is profoundly disappointed and dismayed that the Virginia General Assembly allowed fear mongering and shrill personal attacks by the Family Foundation and Delegate Bob Marshall to derail Richmond lawyer Tracy Thorne-Begland’s election to the bench simply because he is an out gay man. Mr. Thorne-Begland has served his country and his city with honor and unquestioned competence first as a Navy pilot and then as a prosecutor. Contrary to the Family Foundation’s shrill attack, the fact that Mr. Thorne-Begland chose to acknowledge his sexual orientation publicly and accept the consequences (an unwanted discharge from the military) rather than continue to live each day in a lie showed his honesty and integrity and respect for the law. Mr. Thorne-Begland should be seen as a hero, like others whose celebrated civil disobedience helped bring change to unjust laws, rather than vilified as a law breaker by those who continue without reason to oppose basic human rights and nondiscrimination laws for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Virginians. The fact that the legislature caved in to the Family Foundation’s biased blathering is another unfortunate marker on the forced march to the past on which they seem determined to lead the Commonwealth.
Following the General Assembly’s decision on May 15 to vote down Tracy Thorne-Begland’s nomination for judgeship, the Richmond Circuit Court today vetoed their decision appointing Thorne-Begland as judge to the General District Court. Various “legal heavyweights” from five of Richmond’s top law firms, including Richard Cullen, James V. Meath, Thurston R. Moore, John S. West [...]