"If His Lifestyle is Exactly Contrary to That..."

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
May 15 2012 3:27 PM

"If His Lifestyle is Exactly Contrary to That..."

Virginia's Republican-dominated House of Delegates shot down the judicial nomination of openly gay prosecutor Tracy Thorne-Begland. ThinkProgress points to evidence that the Republicans, led by Del. Bob Marshall, voted "no" because Thorne-Begland was gay. The site didn't quote all of Marshall's statement, so I clicked over to find it, assuming that Marshall might have given himself more wiggle room.

There was widespread doubt in the General Assembly as to whether this candidate could swear the oath required of Virginia’s judges to abide by Virginia’s Constitution since he profoundly disagrees with the Virginia Marriage Amendment “that only a union between one man and one woman may be a marriage valid in or recognized by this Commonwealth.”
In 2006, when Virginians overwhelmingly amended our Virginia Constitution to add the Virginia Marriage Amendment defining marriage as a union of one man and one woman, that amendment became the law of the land.  But this applicant does not accept the authority of the people in whom are vested the sole power to amend our Virginia Constitution, as he holds himself out to be married to a person of his own sex.
Advertisement

This is a perfectly rational reaction, isn't it? Thorne-Begland was discharged from the Navy after he came out. He openly opposed Don't Ask Don't Tell. Marshall doesn't present any evidence that Thorne-Begland was going to repeal gay marriage. But he had a hunch. And so he invokes the supremacy of the voter over the judicial branch, which is probably in some Thomas Jefferson letter to Madison that we're not sophisticated enough to know about.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Sports Nut

Grandmaster Clash

One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.

The Extraordinary Amicus Brief That Attempts to Explain the Wu-Tang Clan to the Supreme Court Justices

Amazon Is Officially a Gadget Company. Here Are Its Six New Devices.

Do the Celebrities Whose Nude Photos Were Stolen Have a Case Against Apple?

The NFL Explains How It Sees “the Role of the Female”

Future Tense

Amazon Is Now a Gadget Company

Food

How to Order Chinese Food

First, stop thinking of it as “Chinese food.”

Scotland Is Inspiring Secessionists Across America

The Country Where Women Aren’t Allowed to Work Once They’re 36 Weeks’ Pregnant

The XX Factor
Sept. 18 2014 11:40 AM The Country Where Women Aren’t Allowed to Work Once They’re 36 Weeks’ Pregnant
Moneybox
Sept. 17 2014 5:10 PM The Most Awkward Scenario in Which a Man Can Hold a Door for a Woman
  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 18 2014 3:19 PM In Defense of Congress Leaving Town Without a New War Vote
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 18 2014 3:31 PM What Europe Would Look Like If All the Separatist Movements Got Their Way
  Life
Outward
Sept. 18 2014 3:24 PM Symantec Removes Its “Sexual Orientation” Filter
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 18 2014 3:30 PM How Crisis Pregnancy Centers Trick Women
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 18 2014 1:23 PM “It’s Not Every Day That You Can Beat the World Champion” An exclusive interview with chess grandmaster Fabiano Caruana.
  Arts
Culturebox
Sept. 18 2014 4:00 PM When The Cosby Show Got “Very Special” Why were The Cosby Show’s Very Special Episodes so much better than every other ’80s sitcom’s?
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 18 2014 2:39 PM Here's How to Keep Apple From Sharing Your iPhone Data With the Police
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 18 2014 3:35 PM Do People Still Die of Rabies? And how do you know if an animal is rabid?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.