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Tracy Thorne-Begland, Gay Prosecutor, Appointed To Virginia Court After Assembly Rejection

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Tracy Thorne-Begland, an openly gay Richmond prosecutor rejected for a judgeship by the Virginia House of Delegates last month, received a temporary appointment on Thursday from Richmond Circuit Court judges.

The seat on the 13th General District Court for the city of Richmond begins July 1 and expires 30 days after the commencement of the next session of the General Assembly, according to the Circuit Court.

The lower House defeated Thorne-Begland's nomination after a late effort by social conservatives, led by Del. Bob Marshall (R-Manassas). His nomination was defeated by a 33-31 margin in the 100-member chamber, where he needed 51 votes for the nomination. Twenty-six delegates did not vote, and 10 abstained.

Begland is a former fighter pilot and Navy officer who came out as gay 20 years ago and was discharged under the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, which Congress repealed in 2010.

On Tuesday, leaders from Richmond's five largest law firms urged Circuit Court judges to appoint Thorne-Begland temporarily to the judgeship.

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