May 23, 2012
Thorne-Begland’s confirmation ran into turbulence when the socially conservative Family Foundation emailed alerts on May 11 to legislators and followers that an openly gay man had been nominated for the Richmond General District Court. Thorne-Begland had spoken out for gay rights, the statement warned: “The question is, will his personal agenda take precedent over Virginia law and the Constitution?”Opposition to Thorne-Begland's appointment -- by the Old Dominion's Republican governor -- hinged completely on the fact that he is not ashamed to be gay and in a loving family relationship -- anathema to the Christian Righteous. From a Washington Post editorial:
Twenty years ago, as a Navy lieutenant, he denounced the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy on national television, an event that triggered his honorable discharge. He also served on the board of Equality Virginia, a gay advocacy group, and, with his domestic partner, is raising 7-year-old twins. ...
Del. Robert G. Marshall, R-Prince William, ... -- known in Richmond as "Sideshow Bob" -- said that, as a gay man living with a domestic partner, Mr. Thorne-Begland had a lifestyle that would impede him from upholding Virginia's constitution, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman. As if the nominee's sexual orientation would cripple his ability to preside over traffic cases and misdemeanors.