Amid the ongoing debate over President Obama's support of gay marriage and following of North Carolina's recent ban of it, Virginia's House of Delegates voted today to deny a judicial nomination to Tracy Thorne-Begland, who would have become the state's first openly gay judge. According to The New York Times' Sabrina Tavernise, Thorne-Begland received 33 "yes" votes to 31 "nays," in a vote held in the early hours on Tuesday morning, but needed a 51-vote majority of all the House delegates to be approved. All 31 nay votes came from Republicans, who claimed that Thorne-Begland's lifestyle and support for gays causes would make it impossible for him to be impartial.
Thorne-Begland was nominated for a spot on the General District Court of Richmond, where he spent the last 12 years working as a state prosecutor. His nomination was approved by House and Senate judicial committees, but opposition arose after some Republicans began to question his impartiality, particularly when it came to the issue of marriage equality. Thorne-Begland, who is not married, but lives with his partner and their two children, was honorably discharged from the Navy 20 years ago after he came out publicly on Nightline as a protest against "don't ask, don't tell."