The state House of Delegates voted 33-31, with 10 abstentions, to reject Richmond prosecutor Tracy Thorne-Begland's bid to become a General District Court judge, saying his support for gay marriage made him a poor candidate for the bench.
Openly gay state Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-30th District), told The Washington Post's Virginia Politics blog: "The debate in the House of Delegates was homophobic and embarrassing and showed a disrespect to a chief deputy commonwealth attorney and decorated veteran who was honorably discharged."
Gov. Bob McDonnell said through a spokesman that a judicial nominee's sexual orientation should not be an issue. Del. Bob Marshall (R-13th District), the Family Foundation and others said they did not object to a possible Thorne-Begland judgeship because he is gay, but because his is outspoken on gay rights issues and supports gay marriage.
Marshall criticized Thorne-Begland for revealing that he was a gay naval officer on the TV program "Nightline" 20 years ago.
"The Navy spent $1 million training him," Marshall told The Washington Post. "That's cheating the country out of the investment in him."