Tracy Thorne-Begland is a respected Richmond prosecutor, a former Navy fighter pilot and according to a bipartisan group of Virginia delegates, an eminently qualified candidate for service on the judicial bench. He's also gay, which was why his nomination fell 18 votes short of the 51 needed in the Virginia House of Delegates. As Bob Marshall, a Republican delegate in Virginia, noted, "I don't even think it's proper to put his name forward because of his behavior."
But wait! Opponents of the Thorne-Begland nomination claim their intransigence stems from something other than homophobia. This morning, Marshall went on CNN to provide context for his position…
Marshall says, "Dr. Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks never took an oath of office that they broke. Sodomy is not a civil right. It's not the same as the Civil Rights movement… In late 2011, [Thorne-Begland] was critical of the Don't Ask Don't Tell, he criticized our Attorney General simply for explaining what the law of Virginia is with respect to certain protected classes. So he's gone beyond that. He can be a prosecutor if he wants to, but we don't want advocates as judges."
Damnit, Del. Marshall, that's not providing context. That's providing the very same prejudiced context you evoked before, while making the sentence slightly longer.
Marshall argues that Thorne-Begland violated his oath by coming out against Don't Ask Don't Tell, resulting in a waste of $1 million that was dedicated to training him as a fighter pilot. But it's social conservatives like Marshall who insisted that DADT be maintained! You can't, for example, implement a policy of segregated lunch counters and then claim the high moral ground over those "lawbreakers" who protest the stricture.
Really, Marshall is just saying that Virginia Is for (hypocritical, probably bad) Lovers.
Photo by Tracy A. Woodward/The Washington Post/Getty Images
Tags: Homophobia, Judiciary, LGBT, Military, Virginia