Most if not all of you by now know that very early Tuesday morning, the Virginia House of Delegates ditched the nomination of a gay prosecutor from Richmond to be a General District Court judge — because he was gay.
Tracy Thorne-Begland would have been the state’s first openly gay jurist, but opposition to his nomination was led by Del. Bob Marshall, R-Manassas, the most openly homophobic lawmaker in the Virginia General Assembly.
Thorne-Begland is a former Navy fighter pilot who lives with a partner and with whom he has adopted two children. It’s a travesty, though not completely unsurprising in Virginia, that Virginia House of Delegates would use his sexual orientation as a reason to discriminate against him.
Thorne-Begland needed 51 votes, a simple majority of the 100-member house, for confirmation. But his nomination mustered only 33.
In the spirit of public interest I’m listing the roll-call vote on his nomination below, and each name is a hot link to the email address of the lawmaker listed (if I was able to find the email address). Click on a name and you’ll be able to send those lawmakers a message telling them what you think about their votes, or nonvotes. (If you use web-based email, such as Gmail or Yahoo, you can right-click on the name to copy the address).
Here’s a breakdown of h0w that vote went down:
Yes, to confirm Thorne-Begland:
25 Democrats, 8 Republicans
Dave Albo, R-Springfield; Kenneth Alexander, D-Norfolk; Mamye BaCote, D-Newport News; David Bulova, D-Fairfax; Betsy Carr, D-Richmond; Barbara Comstock, R-McLean; Rosalyn Dance, D-Petersburg; Peter Farrell, R-Henrico; Eileen Filler-Corn, D-Fairfax Station; Charniele Herring, D-Alexandria; Patrick Hope, D-Arlington; Algie Howell, D-Norfolk; Matthew James, D-Portsmouth; Mark Keam, D-Vienna; Terry Kilgore, R-Gate City; Kaye Kory, D-Falls Church; Jim LeMunyon, R-Oak Hill; Lynwood Lewis, D-Accomac; Alfonso Lopez, D-Arlington; Manoli Loupassi, R-Richmond; Jennifer McClellan, D-Richmond; Delores McQuinn, D-Richmond; Joe Morrissey, D-Highland Springs; Tom Rust, R-Herndon; Jim Scott, D-Merrifield; Mark Sickles, D-Alexandria; Lionell Spruill, D-Chesapeake; Scott Surovell, D-Fairfax; Luke Torian, D-Woodbridge; David Toscano, D-Charlottesville; Jeion Ward, D-Hampton; Vivan Watts, D-Annandale; and Joseph Yost, R-Blacksburg.
No, against Thorne-Begland’s nomination:
Rich Anderson, R-Woodbridge; Dickie Bell, R-Staunton; Rob Bell, R-Charlottesville; Kathy Byron, R-Lynchburg; Ben Cline, R-Amherst; Mark Cole, R-Fredericksburg; John Cosgrove, R-Chesapeake; John A. Cox, R-Ashland; Mark Dudenhefer, R-Stafford; James Edmunds, R-South Boston; Matt Fariss, R-Rustbert; Scott Garrett, R-Lynchburg; Tag Greason, R-Potomac Falls; Gordon Helsel, R-Poquoson; Keith Hodges, R-Urbanna; Tim Hugo, R-Centreville; Sal Iaquinto, R-Virginia Beach; Barry Knight, R-Virginia Beach; Scott Lingamfelter, R-Woodbridge; Danny Marshall, R-Danville; Bob Marshall, R-Manassas; Jimmie Massie, R-Richmond; Don Merricks, R-Danville; Will Morefield, R-North Tazewell; Brenda Pogge, R-Williamsburg; Charles Poindexter, R-Glade Hill; David Ramadan, R-South Riding; Roxann Robinson, R-Chesterfield; Ron Villanueva, R-Virginia Beach; Mike Watson, R-Williamsburg; Tony Wilt, R-Harrisonburg.
Abstained, Rule 69 (present but ducked voting):
9 Republicans, 1 Independent
Kirk Cox, R-Colonial Heights; Anne Crockett Stark, R-Wytheville; Riley Ingram, R-Hopewell; Steve Landes, R-Weyers Cave; Israel O’Quinn, R-Bristol; Lacey Putney, I-Bedford; Nick Rush, R-Christiansburg; Ed Scott, R-Culpeper; Beverly Sherwood, R-Winchester; Chris Stolle, R-Virginia Beach.
Not Voting (some present, some not):
19 Republicans, 7 Democrats
Bob Brink, D-Arlington; David Englin, D-Alexandria; Todd Gilbert, R-Woodstock; Greg Habeeb, R-Salem; Chris Head, R-Roanoke; Bill Howell, R-Fredericksburg; Johnny Joannou, D-Portmouth; Joseph Johnson, D-Abingdon; Chris Jones, R-Suffolk; Joe May, R-Leesburg; Jackson Miller, R-Manassas; Randy Minchew, R-Leesburg; Rick Morris, R-Carrollton; John O’Bannon, R-Richmond; Bobby Orrock, R-Thornburg; Chris Peace, R-Mechanicsville; Ken Plum, D-Reston; Bob Purkey, R-Virginia Beach; Margaret Ransone, R-Kinsale; Bob Tata, R-Virginia Beach; Roslyn Tyler, D-Jarratt; Onzlee Ware, D-Roanoke; Lee Ware, R-Powhatan; Michael Webert, R-Marshall; Tommy Wright, R-Victoria; David Yancey, R-Newport News.
UPDATE: Here’s an email I receive from Del. Scott Surovell, D-Fairfax, shortly after this post was published:
For whatever it’s worth, during orientation, we were trained that if you do not support a [judge], then we were supposed to not vote. Judge votes are actually judge elections, not votes like votes on bills. Don’t ask me to explain, but that’s what the Clerk told us the protocol was.
Rule 69 Abstention are for financial or personal conflicts of interest. I don’t know what those might have been given that I do not believe anyone was a family member.
In terms of the people who were not present, at the start of session, I think we were 5 short. More people left, especially after we finished the budget around 7 PM. However, I know that about 1/2 of the “not voting” votes were people who were in the room. Again, we were told that was the appropriate way to not support a judge as opposed to actually voting no.
I’m not suggesting that the above rules were in play for everyone in the room, but that’s what I was told in orientation 2.5 years ago.
Delegate Scott A. Surovell
General Assembly of Virginia