VIRGINIA: Tracy Thorne-Begland Sworn In As State’s First Openly Gay Judge

After a lengthy battle against local and national hate groups, yesterday former prosecutor and Navy jet pilot Tracy Thorne-Begland (above right) kissed his husband after being sworn in as Virginia’s first openly gay judge.

That process took its toll on Thorne-Begland. In fact, he said the long nomination process left him physically and mentally exhausted. Thorne-Begland said the history-making moment would not be possible without the help of his sponsor in the House of Delegates, Manoli Loupassi R-Richmond. “So the fact that his sexual orientation has nothing to do with it,” Loupassi said. “If you’re black or Latino or whatever. It doesn’t matter. Can you do the job? Are you qualified for the job? If you’re qualified and you can do the job then you’ll you should be able to get the job, too.” Richmond’s newest judge thanked his partner of 20 years and two children for their support amid applause.

There’s a great video clip at the link. (Tipped by JMG reader Roland)

RELATED: In 1992 Thorne-Begland came out on national television in support of Bill Clinton’s campaign pledge to end the military’s exclusion of openly gay service members. He was then honorably discharged. DADT went into effect the following year.