On Thursday, the Washington Post reported that in Virginia an openly gay prosecutor will be appointed by circuit court judges to the general district court bench.
Tracy Thorne-Begland, 45, was rejected last month for the nomination by the House of Delegates. He has been serving as Richmond's chief deputy commonwealth's attorney. His appointment is temporary until the General Assembly comes back into session.
Here's a look at the latest information regarding Thorne-Begland's appointment.
Delegate angry over decision: Delegate Robert G. Marshall (R-Prince William), a leading voice of opposition to Thorne-Begland said that the court was "contesting the authority of the General Assembly here. This is an act of defiance on their part. When appointed officials get in fights with elected officials, they invariably lose."
Republican delegate reverses decision: However, he lost an ally on Thursday when Delegate Richard Morris (R-Isle of Wight) said he would support Thorne-Begland, according to NBC 12. His review of the prosecutor's military past caused him to change his mind.
Several conservative delegates had opposed his choice based on the fact he came out on national television in violation of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy in 1992. Thorne-Begland served in the Navy at the time.
Even so, he would need many more votes in the GOP-controlled House to secure an appointment. In May, he had only 33 votes of a necessary 51 out of 100-members.
Appointee "humbled" by decision: Thorne-Begland was quoted by the Richmond Times-Dispatch to "look forward to serving the citizens of the city of Richmond as a jurist and, over the coming months, I hope that my service provides comfort to all Virginians that I remain committed to the faithful application of the laws and constitutions of Virginia and the United States of America."
Thorne-Begland's supporters had argued that his rejection by House of Delegates Republicans had been because he was gay. One supporter, Sen. A. Donald McEachin (D-Henrico) singled out Robert Marshall on his website, saying "Bob just has a phobia-that's the real problem."
He added that a person's background should not preclude a qualified candidate.
Law firms add voices of support: On Tuesday, the Washington Post reported that leaders of Richmond's five largest law firms had sent a letter to circuit court judges saying that the prosecutor, based on his merits, would be an "outstanding judge."
The firms included McGuireWoods, Hunton & Williams, Troutman Sanders, LeClairRyan, and Williams Mullen.
Shawn Humphrey is a former contributor to The Flint Journal and lives near Washington, D.C., in Gaithersburg, Maryland.