Virginia General Assembly To Interview Gay Interim Judge - ABC 8NEWS - WRIC | Richmond, Virginia News & Weather

Virginia General Assembly To Interview Gay Interim Judge

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RICHMOND, VA— The Virginia General Assembly will discuss the full-time appointment of an openly gay Virginia judge appointed to the bench on an interim basis.

Richmond General District Court Judge Tracy Thorne-Begland is one of nine judges scheduled to be interviewed Monday by Senate and House committees.

The Richmond Circuit Court named Thorne-Begland to the seat on an interim basis last year, after the Republican-controlled House rejected his nomination. Thorne-Begland's appointment expires next month unless the legislature makes it permanent.

The openly gay Richmond prosecutor was appointed in June of 2012, following heated debates and controversy. The Richmond Circuit Court judges made the appointment, after the General Assembly denied Thorne-Bergland's nomination and failed to fill the seat.

Some lawmakers argued against Thorne-Berglans' appointment, saying his activist work for gay causes would impact his judicial decisions and make him unable to uphold the law because he supports gay marriage which is not recognized in Virginia.

Thorne-Begland is the first openly gay judge in Virginia.

Republican leaders criticized the court for appointing Thorne-Begland over their objects, saying the law allowing circuit courts to fill vacancies when the legislature is not in session was not intended as an appeals process for rejected candidates. Republicans are sponsoring legislation to prohibit such appointments.

Thorne-Begland released the following statement after his June appointment

"I am humbled by the Circuit Court's decision. I 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."

 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Copyright 2013 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond.

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