RICHMOND, Va. (AP)- The Richmond Circuit Court has appointed an openly gay Richmond prosecutor to a General District Court judgeship a month after legislators blocked the appointment.
In a statement Thursday, Sen. A. Donald McEachin applauded the court for "putting aside bigotry, prejudice and false excuses" in naming Tracy Thorne-Begland to the seat.
Supporters have said Thorne-Begland would be Virginia's first openly gay jurist.
Thorne-Begland was honorably discharged as a Navy pilot after publicly disclosing his sexual orientation. Some legislators pointed to that defiance as a reason he should not serve.
In May, Thorne-Begland received 33 yes votes, 31 no votes - all from Republicans - and 10 abstentions in his bid for the seat.
The appointment was left to the court because the General Assembly failed to fill the seat.