Virginia GOP Senators Walk Out Rather Than Vote for Gay Judge

By Sunnivie Brydum

Originally published on Advocate.com January 16 2013 4:40 PM ET

Tracy Thorne-Begland was first nominated to the state judiciary in Virginia last year, but the out gay father and former fighter pilot's judicial appointment wasn't confirmed until yesterday, according to MaddowBlog. Thorne-Begland was ultimately elected to the Richmond Manchester District Court by a vote of 66-28 in the Republican-controlled House, and a Senate vote of 28-0, confirming Thorne-Begland's legacy as the state's first openly gay judge.

But 12 out of 20 GOP senators abstained from the election, essentially casting "no" votes without actually voting on the decorated Navy veteran's nomination, reports Ben Tribbet

Last year, when Thorne-Begland's name arose as a candidate for a full-time seat on the bench, several state Republicans said the interim judge's sexual orientation "made him biased and unqualified for the state bench," according to MaddowBlog.