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Judge candidate draws fire for gay rights stance

A pro-family advocacy group has targeted a Richmond prosecutor up for a general district court judgeship in General Assembly judicial elections today.

Deputy Richmond commonwealth’s attorney Tracy Thorne-Begland has a “long history of political activism,” claims The Family Foundation in a blog entry posted Friday.

Thorne-Begland was discharged from the Navy 20 years ago after coming out as gay on national TV to challenge the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, according to The Washington Post.

Thorne-Begland has been nominated to fill a vacancy on the 13 District bench in Richmond

He declined comment to the Washington Post, but his Assembly sponsor, Del. Manoli Loupassi, R-Richmond, said Thorne-Begland is highly regarded by both judges and defense attorneys.

Loupassi dismissed suggestions by the Family Foundation that Thorne-Begland’s political agenda makes him unfit for the bench. Many politicians are elected as judges, Loupassi said, and district court judges are unlikely to encounter cases touching on the rights of homosexuals.

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