Yesterday the House of Delegates Courts of Justice Committee certified the judicial candidacy of openly gay Tracy Thorne-Begland (pictured above). His nomination now heads to the full House of Delegates for a vote, where it failed last May, receiving only 33 of the necessary 51 votes necessary for election. The nomination has placed the Virginia GOP in a bit of a bind: do members defy the hate merchants at Family Foundation or do they defy the most powerful law firms in Virginia and in the process give Virginia another black eye in the arena of world opinion. I'm keeping my fingers crossed and hoping that The Family Foundation will experience a rare defeat at the hands of the typically tawdry whore like members of the GOP delegation who routinely prostitute themselves to the vile theocrats and religious extremists at The Family Foundation. Meanwhile the Roanoke Times has an editorial urging the legislators to do the right thing and vote for confirmation. Here are editorial highlights:
The House of Delegates is wasting no time finishing one of its touchier agenda items. In an unusually rapid scheduling move, the chamber could vote today on confirmation of a gay judicial nominee it rejected less than a year ago. By confirming Tracy Thorne-Begland, delegates could erase an embarrassing stain from the commonwealth's reputation.
In the waning hours of last year's session, Thorne-Begland, a respected prosecutor, did not receive enough votes for confirmation. The voting took place after 1 a.m. with one-third of the chamber either absent or abstaining. Locally, only Del. Joseph Yost of Blacksburg was there and voted "Yea."
Opponents rejected him because he is gay. They trotted out some lame excuses, but their real intent was never a mystery.
History need not repeat itself. By all accounts, Thorne-Begland has done a fine job adjudicating cases since his appointment.
The fact that the House Courts of Justice subcommittee tabled a bill to prevent judges from filling vacancies with someone the legislature had already rejected offers some hope. It was an unsubtle jab at Thorne-Begland and his judicial backers.
Sexual orientation has nothing to do with a judge's qualifications to serve on the bench. A straight nominee with Thorne-Begland's experience would have cruised to overwhelming confirmation last year. Thorne-Begland deserves no less this year.
If Virginia is going to move forward and embrace the future, the power ofThe Family Foundation needs to be broken and legislators need to cease pandering to those who offer nothing but hate, bigotry and division as their stock in trade.