Gay judicial nominee receives new support

Published: Jun. 14, 2012 at 11:40 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 19, 2012 at 11:40 AM EDT
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Tracy Thorne-Begland
Tracy Thorne-Begland

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - More support coming for an openly gay Richmond Commonwealth Attorney shot down for a judge's seat. Last month, the House of Delegates voted to reject Tracy Thorne-Begland's move to the bench, now one delegate is reversing his position.

Republican Delegate Richard Morris is changing his mind, saying he is now supporting Thorne-Begland for the bench.

According to a memo obtained by the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Morris says he's reversing his decision after an extensive review of Thorne-Begland's military past.

Several lawmakers say they were opposed to Thorne-Begland's election to the bench because he violated the military's the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy when he came out on national television back in 1992. Some conservative delegates also believed he would pursue a gay rights agenda from the bench.

Morris' support comes after several prominent lawyers wrote the court in support of Thorne-Begland. A Richmond City Councilmen also proposed a resolution backing the former Navy pilot.

Senator Donald McEachin is praising Delegate Morris, releasing a statement that reads in part, "In this action, Delegate Morris has shown himself to be truly serving the public and willing to do what is best, regardless of previous statements of partisanship".

Thorne-Begland can still become a judge since there is still a vacancy. Six circuit court judge can fill the position temporarily if they choose to.

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