When the four Republicans running for U.S. Senate in Virginia gather for their third and final debate Friday, they’ll have before them a brand-new issue: gay judges.
Marshall led the successful fight in the General Assembly last week to block a gay judicial nominee’s appointment to the bench in Richmond. Jackson has essentially aligned himself with Marshall on that issue, albeit with a twist of racial politics.
Marshall said he did not oppose gay judges per se. But he contended that veteran Richmond prosecutor Tracy Thorne-Begland, who came out as gay as a naval officer 20 years ago on “Nightline,” was unfit for the bench because he had challenged the military’s ban on gays openly serving in the military, advocated for gay marriage and lives with a partner with whom he is raising twins.
Marshall said that biography amounted to military insubordination and a challenge to the state constitution, which bans gay marriage and civil unions. Thorne-Begland’s life, Marshall said, “is a contradiction to the requirement of submission to the constitution”
Jackson agreed with all that in a statement issued last week, while adding that his African-American heritage and sensitivity to civil rights have made him especially opposed to Thorne-Begland’s appointment.
“Homosexuals have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as do all Americans,” Jackson said in a news release. “Nevertheless, sexual orientation is not a protected class under the Virginia Constitution or our laws, nor should it be. Equating rights over ‘sexual orientation’ to black civil
This article originally appeared on: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/virginia-politics/post/virginia-senate-hopefuls-differ-on-gay-judges/2012/05/21/gIQAlmx5fU_blog.html