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Constitutional Law

After Lawmakers Nix Gay Prosecutor for Judge’s Seat, Top Va. Attorney Calls Vote an ‘Embarassment’

Posted May 15, 2012 5:55 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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An openly gay Virginia prosecutor who formerly served as a U.S. Navy fighter pilot was rejected by lawmakers for a seat on the state court bench Tuesday.

Tracy Thorne-Begland, who serves as chief deputy commonwealth attorney in Richmond, is raising twins with his partner, who is also a lawyer, the New York Times (reg. req.) reports.

The Virginia House of Delegates voted 33-31, with 10 abstentions, not to approve him for the state court seat.

During a lunchtime courthouse news conference after the vote, Thorne-Begland's boss, Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney Michael N. Herring, said his deputy would have been an outstanding judge and called the vote an "embarrassment," the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports.

“It's hard to think about what happened in the General Assembly and not conclude that it's a form of bigotry,” Herring said.

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