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Holmberg: Judges shouldn’t be “openly” anything

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) I hope you don’t believe Tracy Thorne-Begland will be the first gay judge among the thousands or jurists who have served Virginia over the years.

That’s why everyone is hedging, saying he’ll be the first “openly” gay judge.

But what he really will be is the first gay activist appointed to a judgeship.

And apart from one or two elected judges deep in Virginia’s past, he’ll be the first activist of any kind selected for a judgeship in this state.

As you probably know, 20 years ago Tracy broke military law and his oath as a naval officer when he came out on Nightline, part of a carefully staged attack on the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” policy.

That made him an activist. Judges don’t break laws. They’re supposed to enforce them, interpret them.

There are many of you who are saying, so what, I agree with what he did. Many believe (as I do) it’s not just a gay rights issue; it’s a human rights issue.

But abortion opponents also believe the fetus’ right to life is a human rights issue as well.

I certainly hope those of you cheering Tracy’s appointment will welcome as judges protestors who get arrested outside of abortion clinics while trying to save lives.

You know, the ideal of judicial impartiality is similar to that for reporters. You definitely won’t see a reporter keep a job after getting arrested during a political or social issue protest.

And yet, some of you want this kind of activist in judicial robes because you believe in the agenda, the position.

Now you’ll have to welcome to the bench those activists you disagree with.

I’ve known Tracy for years – great person and prosecutor, a diligent, honorable and fair-minded man.

For me, it’s about his open activism, not his sexuality.

You know, I don’t want an “openly” heterosexual judge either. Or an “openly” gun rights judge, an “openly” abortion rights judge, an “openly” anti-immigrant judge or openly right-to life judge.

Judges should come in all shapes and races and sexualities. There are plenty of gay and lesbian judges across the country – you can bet some of them right here in Virginia – and at least one transsexual judge.

But I don’t want an “openly” anything judge. That’s a clear indication they have a defining agenda.

I don’t want to know or care about with whom they’re sleeping. In fact, I don’t even want to see a bumper sticker on their cars.

This shouldn’t be a politically correct popularity contest about who’s agenda we prefer.

This is about the people who sit in judgement of us, enforcing laws equally, whether they agree with them or not.

That’s my take. Please post yours here.



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