I have written a lot about Tracy Thorne-Begland’s journey, and fight, against the GOP wingnuts in Virginia [HERE, HEREand HERE] and it’s nice to finally post about his success. See, last Friday, Virginia made history for itself when Tracy Thorne-Begland was sworn in as the state’s first openly gay judge. Thorne-Begland is now a General District Court Judge and will hold court in Richmond.
And while it was a happy day for Thorne-Begland, his partner of twenty years and their two children, it certainly wasn’t an easy road. Last May, there were some in Virginia’s House of Delegates—lead by the “Pissy” Bobby Marshall—who thought that having an openly gay judge would lead to some sort of LGBT activism from the bench.
Like, I dunno, making it a crime not attend Pride Parades in the state.
Like, I dunno, making it a crime not to watch The New Normal.
Like, and this is real, maybe Thorne-Begland would legalize same-sex marriage in the state even though he has no power to do so.
It’s funny that these wingnuts like “Pissy” Bobby think a gay judge will make gay choices and rulings from the bench and not follow the letter of the law, but don’t think some radical wingnut conservative judge might do the same.
Back in May, “Pissy” Bobby Marshall said of Thorne-Begland: “I don’t even think it’s proper to put his name forward because of his behavior.”
His behavior is that he’s gay and is actively supportive of LGBT causes.
And still, Virginia lawmakers voted against Thorne-Begland serving as a General District Court judge in 2012, but the Richmond Circuit Court appointed him to serve an interim position last June. And this past January Thorne-Begland met with lawmakers to discuss both his sexual orientation, and his military career.
Delegate David B. Albo, Chair of the Courts and Justice Committee, asked: “Some say you lied on your application to be in the military because it asks if you are gay.”
Thorne-Begland reminded them that he joined the military in 1988 said, “When I was going through the process of joining the military I didn’t know I was gay.”
The long process of answering personal questions about his life and everything he said or did, took a toll on Thorne-Begland, but said he finally saw some hope when he received help from Republican—you read that right—delegate Manoli Loupassi.
“So the fact is that his sexual orientation has nothing to do with it. If you’re black or Latino or whatever. It doesn’t matter. Can you do the job? Are you qualified for the job? If you’re qualified and you can do the job then you’ll you should be able to get the job, too.”—Manoli Loupassi
And that’s all it should boil down to; it matters not with whom Tracy Thorne-Begland sleeps with, or whether or not he’s supported LGBT causes throughout his life. It should simply matter whether or not he can do the job, and last week Virginia said loud and clear that he can do it.
And he will.