California State Sen. Roy Ashburn has already come out of the closet. Now, on the Senate floor, he’s eeking his way out of the dressing area. One day soon, he might make it to the landing. Maybe even the downstairs foyer!
Though the Republican lawmaker recently voted in support of a referendum to allow gays to serve openly in the armed forces, he also voted against SB 906, which “would clarify that clergy members would not be required to perform a civil marriage that was contrary to his or her faith,” a move many see as one step in getting the state to one again recognize gay marriage. (The bill passed.)
But allow him to explain why he’s casting some votes in favor and some against his own community.
Addressing the full Senate, Ashburn went all: “I would not have been speaking on a measure dealing with sexual orientation ever prior to the events that have transpired in my life over the last three months. However, I am no longer willing or able to remain silent on issues that affect sexual orientation and the rights of individuals. And so I am doing something that is quite different and foreign to me, and it’s highly emotional. … The public supports allowing openly gay people to serve in the military. … The current policy of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ is clearly out of date and discriminatory.”
As for the clergy bill? While he’s fine with passing a bill to exclude religious groups from the gay marriage arena, he found it “troublesome” the bill referred to the relationships between gays as “civil unions.” Fine. But we hereby ban you from ever enjoying one.