Virginia’s General Assembly voted Tuesday to appoint a gay judge to the bench, reversing its decision last year to reject his nomination.
Without debate but with a walkout by more than half of the Republican caucus, the Senate voted 28 to 0 to appoint Tracy Thorne-Begland to a six-year term on Richmond’s General District Court. The vote in the House, also without debate, was 66 to 28 in favor of his appointment.
In both chambers, all of those opposed to his appointment were Republicans.
In the Senate, 12 of the chamber’s 20 Republicans left the chamber rather than vote on the matter. Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment Jr. (R-James City), who supported the appointment, had urged anyone opposed to leave the chamber rather than cast a no vote against the nominee.
He said that is the custom in the Senate.
Sen. Richard H. Black (R-Loudoun) initially voted no. The vote was reconsidered moments later, with Norment restating that opponents should leave the chamber. That time, Black left.