Tuesday, January 15, 2013

VA General Assembly will OK appointment of openly gay prosecutor to bench

The Virginia General Assembly appears ready to ratify the appointment of openly gay prosecutor Tracy Thorne-Begland to a judgeship in Richmond.

The Virginia House had rejected him before when conservatives complained about his publicity speaking out early during the 1993 debate on gays in the military, appearing on ABC Nightline and testifying in front of Strom Thurmond in a famous hearing at Norfolk Naval Base.  (That's when Thurmond said "It isn't natural...." and the audience applauded.  Later Sam Nunn low-crawled on a submarine deck, before TV cameras, to make a point about "privacy".)   
Conservatives no longer were claiming they would deny the appointment because Thorne is gay, but because he sought public attention to his life and to his views, creating what they view as a “conflict of interest”. 
This sounds like archaic reasoning now, partly because “don’t ask don’t tell” has been repealed.  But in the 1990s it was taken seriously.  Similar concerns led me to do a corporate transfer and relocation (away from a part of a life insurance company that dealt with the military) when I published my book in 1997.  It isn’t silly at all.  It determined the course of much of my own life.

The Washington Post story by Laura Vozzella is here

Thorne's story was last covered here May 15, 2012.  

Also in Virginia, lawmakers have quashed an effort to start a repeal of Marshall-Newman (2006), which bans gay marriage and civil unions (link) .

In Minnesota, Katherine Kersten (from the Center for the American Experiment) has written a column criticizing the state’s new anti-bullying campaign as an attempt to install pro-gay ideology in school systems, link here

In Anoka country (north of Minneapolis), there was litigation after two or more student suicides related to anti-gay bullying, claiming that the school district’s “neutrality” policy actually was a “back door” invitation to bullying.

I can say, from my own days in substitute teaching, that the most critical measure of effectiveness is for school officials to jump on bullying from any cause, and to have a zero-tolerance policy.  That should not be related to what is in the social studies curriculum. 
Minnesota voters turned down an anti-gay marriage amendment on 2012. 

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