Virginia rejects judge nominee because he is gay

Republicans in the Virginia General Assembly rejected Tracy Thorne-Begland’s nomination to become a General District Court Judge because of Mr. Begland’s sexual orientation in a vote at 1:13 a.m. on May 15th, 2012. Democratic Party of Virginia Chairman Brian Moran issued this statement through DPVA Communications Director Brian Coy:

In the final hours of a legislative session defined by right-wing reactionaries attempting to remake Virginia in their own radical image, Republicans in the General Assembly set a new and unthinkable standard for their backward agenda.

As Chief Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney for Richmond and a decorated veteran, Tracy Thorne-Begland is qualified to serve as a General District Court Judge by any conventional measure. By rejecting him after a debate that centered almost exclusively on Mr. Thorne-Begland’s sexual orientation, Virginia Republicans proved that a person’s experience and qualifications are irrelevant to them if they object to who that person is.

It is difficult to consider last night’s vote without using the word “bigoted,” just as it’s difficult to consider this period of unified Republican government without using the word “disaster.”

Stories with quotes and comments from both Democratic and Republican legislators as well as Governor Bob McDonnell appear in The New York Times and on The Washington Post blog.

In this vote, which was 33 “Yea” and 31 “Nay,” 51 votes were needed for appointment. Forty appointments were acted upon, and all except Tracy Thorne-Begland’s received 70 or more “Yea” votes, with abstentions [correction 5-16-2012 10:42 a.m., “abstentions” should read “absences or not voting”] counting for most of the missing votes. On votes on passage in the House, members vote “Yea” in support of the bill and “Nay” if they are against it. A member abstains by “voting” Rule 69, meaning that although present for the vote, the member has a specific personal interest — conflict of interest — in the outcome of the bill.

Our delegate from Bristol, Israel O’Quinn, abstained, and our long-time delegate before redistricting, Joe Johnson, did not vote.

Here is the vote for Thorne-Begland:

Yeas–33 (by my count, 8 Republicans and 25 Democrats)

David B. Albo, R-Fairfax
Kenneth C. Alexander, D-Norfolk
Mamye E. BaCote, D-Newport News
David L. Bulova, D-Fairfax
Betsy B. Carr, D-Richmond
Barbara J. Comstock, R-Fairfax
Rosalyn R. Dance, D-Petersburg
Peter F. Farrell, R-Henrico
Eileen Filler-Corn, D-Fairfax
Charniele L. Herring, D-Alexandria
Patrick A. Hope, D-Arlington
Algie T. Howell, D-Norfolk
Matthew James, D-Portsmouth
Mark L. Keam, D-Fairfax
Terry G. Kilgore, R-Scott
L. Kaye Kory, D-Fairfax
James M. LeMunyon, R-Fairfax
Lynwood W. Lewis Jr., D-Accomack
Alfonso H. Lopez, D-Arlington
G. Manoli Loupassi, R-Richmond
Jennifer L. McClellan, D-Richmond
Delores L. McQuinn, D-Richmond
Joseph D. Morrissey, D-Henrico
Thomas Davis Rust, R-Fairfax
James M. Scott, D-Fairfax
Mark D. Sickles, D-Fairfax
Lionell Spruill Sr., D-Chesapeake
Scott A. Surovell, D-Fairfax
Luke Torian, D-Prince William
David J. Toscano, D-Charlottesville
Jeion A. Ward, D-Hampton
Vivian E. Watts, D-Fairfax
Joseph A. Yost, R-Montgomery

Nays-31 (By my count, all from Republicans)

Richard L. Anderson, R-Prince William
Richard P. “Dickie” Bell, R-Staunton
Robert B. Bell, R-Albemarle
Kathy J. Byron, R-Campbell
Benjamin L. Cline, R-Rockbridge
Mark L. Cole, R-Spotsylvania
John A. Cosgrove, R-Chesapeake
John A. Cox, R-Hanover
L. Mark Dudenhefer, R-Stafford
James E. Edmunds II, R-Halifax
C. Matthew Fariss, R-Campbell
T. Scott Garrett, R-Lynchburg
Thomas A. “Tag” Greason, R-Loudoun
Gordon C. Helsel Jr., R-Poquoson
M. Keith Hodges, R-Middlesex
Timothy D. Hugo, R-Fairfax
Salvatore R. Laquinto, R-Virginia Beach
Barry D. Knight, R-Virginia Beach
L. Scott Lingamfelter, R-Prince William
Daniel W. Marshall III, R-Danville
Robert G. Marshall, R-Prince William
Jimmie Massie, R-Henrico
Donald W. Merricks, R-Pittsylvania
James W. “Will” Morefield, R-Tazewell
Brenda L. Pogge, R-James City
Charles D. Poindexter, R-Franklin County
David I. Ramadan, R-Loudoun
Roxann L. Robinson, R-Chesterfield
Ron Villanueva, R-Virginia Beach
Michael B. Watson, R-Williamsburg
Tony O. Wilt, R-Rockingham

Abstensions under Rule 69: 10 (By my count, one independent and 9 Republicans)

M. Kirkland Cox, R-Colonial Heights
Anne B. Crockett-Stark, R-Wythe
Riley E. Ingram, R-Hopewell
R. Steven Landes, R-Augusta
Israel D. O’Quinn, R-Bristol
Lacey E. Putney, I-Bedford
Larry N. Rush, R-Montgomery
Edward T. Scott, R-Madison
Beverly J. Sherwood, R-Frederick
Chris Stolle, R-Virginia Beach

Not voting: 26 (By my count, 19 Republicans and 7 Democrats)

Robert H. Brink, D-Arlington
David L. Englin, D-Alexandria
C. Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah
Gregory D. Habeeb, R-Salem
Christopher T. Head, R-Roanoke
William J. Howell, R-Stafford
Johnny S. Joannou, D-Portsmouth
Joseph P. Johnson Jr., D-Washington County
S. Chris Jones, R-Suffolk
Joe T. May, R-Loudoun
Jackson H. Miller, R-Manassas
J. Randall “Randy” Minchew, R-Leesburg
Richard L. Morris, R-Isle of Wight
John M. O’Bannon III, R-Henrico
Robert D. Orrock Sr., R-Caroline
Christopher K. Peace, R-Hanover
Kenneth R. Plum, D-Fairfax
Harry R. Purkey, R-Virginia Beach
Margaret B. Ransone, R-Westmoreland
Robert Tata, R-Virginia Beach
Roslyn C. Tyler, D-Sussex
Onzlee Ware, D-Roanoke
R. Lee Ware Jr., R-Powhatan
Michael J. Webert, R-Fauquier
Thomas C. Wright Jr., R-Lunenberg
David E. Yancey, R-Newport News

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