A Richmond prosecutor in June became Virginiaâ€™s first openly gay judge.
The Richmond Circuit Court approved the nomination of Tracy Thorne-Begland, chief deputy commonwealth attorney for the city of Richmond, nearly a month after members of the House of Delegates rejected it.
â€śI am humbled by the Circuit Courtâ€™s decision,â€ť Thorne-Begland said in a statement. â€śI look forward to serving the citizens of the city of Richmond as a jurist, and over the coming months I hope that my service provides comfort to all Virginians that I remain committed to the faithful application of the laws and constitutions of Virginia and the United States of America.â€ť
Del. Bob Marshall (R-Prince William County) stressed before the May 15 vote in the House of Delegates that Thorne-Begland, who is a former Navy pilot, â€śmisrepresentedâ€ť himself when he failed to disclose his sexual orientation when he enlisted in 1992. State Sen. A. Donald McEachin (D-Henrico,) who sponsored his nomination in the state Senate, applauded the Circuit Court judges for recognizing â€śMr. Thorne-Beglandâ€™s skill, qualifications and competency and putting aside bigotry, prejudice and false excusesâ€ť in a statement after they approved his nomination.
Equality Virginia, state Sen. A. Donald McEachin and Gov. Bob McDonnell also applauded Thorne-Beglandâ€™s appointment. Former Attorney General Richard Cullen and former Virginia Bar Association President James Meath are among those who backed his nomination.
The Richmond Circuit Court had the authority to appoint Thorne-Begland on an interim basis because lawmakers did not fill the vacancy. Lawmakers could rescind the temporary appointment once they reconvene next month.