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In Virginia, where homophobia thrives and the Klan still rallies in the mountains and valleys, a gay judge managed to survive a right-wing attempt to block his appointment as a district court judge when Richmond Circuit judges circumvented the Old Dominion’s General Assembly and make the appointment themselves.
The judges voted to put Tracy Thorne-Bergland, an openly gay prosecutor, on the direct court bench just a few weeks after the Republican-controlled General Assembly rejected his appointment.
Right-wing Virginia delegate Robert Marshall led the fight to block Thorne-Begland’s appointment, calling him “an aggressive activist for the pro-homosexual agenda.”
Such hyperbole is common in Virginia government, where gay marriage is considered a crime against God and nature and right-wing attorney general Ken Cuccilnelli openly fights to roll back what few racial and gender equality laws that do exist in the Old Dominion.
In an interview with the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Marshall said of Thorne-Begland:
You could preside as a district judge for a marriage of two guys if he wanted to, in violation of the law. Moreover, if you have a bar room fight between a homosexual and heterosexual, I’m concerned about possible bias.
In Virginia, Circuit Judges can vote to appoint a General District Court Judge. Marshall, however, is threatening to offer legislation to strip them of that authority in the next session of the General Assembly.