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Roy Ashburn Ready to Make Up For His a Horrific Anti-Gay Voting

With his final term in the California State Senate about to wrap up, it’s about time drunk driver Roy Ashburn begin working on the next chapter of his life. Perhaps literally: What about a memoir, Roy boy? And you can promote it on an apology book tour!

“I should begin with an apology,” Ashburn writes in a new op-ed. “I am sincerely sorry for the votes I cast and the actions I took that harmed lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Just as important to me, I am sorry for not stepping forward and speaking up as an elected official on behalf of equal treatment for all people. For nearly 26 years, the voters in my area of California trusted me as their elected representative. I look back now knowing there is so much more I could have done to inform the public about LGBT people and to fight for equal rights under the law. Regrettably and selfishly, I took another path in my life and political career—I chose to conceal who I truly am and to then actually vote against the best interests of people like me. All this was done because I was afraid–terrified, really–that somehow I would be revealed as gay. My past actions harmed gay people. In fact, all people are harmed when there is unequal treatment of anyone under the constitution and laws of our country. I do not believe in discrimination, and yet my votes advanced unequal of treatment of gay people and promoted the suspicion and fear that limits people from being forthright and accepted in society.”

Back in May we argued Ashburn — a man, we must note, whose pressure to remain in the closet is not to celebrated — committed “public service malpractice.” It’s a sin he’s now confessing to.

It’s a far cry from where he was in March, just after his DUI arrest, when he acknowledged voting against the gays but insisted he did so because that’s what his constituents wanted — and fellow California conservatives stood by him. Now, he knows he was wrong. And he’s trying to make amends: “I am no longer willing, nor able to remain silent in the face of unequal and hurtful treatment of my community. It may have taken me a strange, incoherent and long path to get here, but this is where I find myself as a gay Republican Senator. It’s time for Republicans to find our way and fight for equal treatment for all people, especially the freedom to be unique and have our rights acknowledged and protected.”

Indeed, it’s definitely the beginning of Ashburn’s tunraround tour. Now he must prepare to be wholly abandoned by the bigoted brothers and sisters in politics he once embraced.

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  • asa1973

    I’m a sucker for a comeback story. I don’t pretend to understand many Republican points of view, but I would welcome him to stand beside me in an equal rights rally. What is the continuance of life if not the opportunity to right our wrongs.

  • David

    Frankly, I’m happy to hear that he continues to apologize and has begun to write the many wrongs (he has a long way to go). But he’s on the right track and if he comes out swinging (no pun intended) and speaks up for the gay community (and against those that mean us harm = Religious Right, etc) then I support him. He’s a poster child for “this is what homophobia does to people”. Go for it Roy!

  • B

    What he should have done before his arrest outed him was to have a private conversation with someone like Mark Leno and tell him (off the record) that he was gay, but represented a homophobic district and then tell Mark that he’d vote for a gay rights bill when it was needed to pass (e.g., when having his vote would made a difference in the outcome) but generally had to vote against the bills for political survival. You can always find a way of explaining a single vote, citing special circumstances and pointing to all your other votes or a case of “horse trading” to get support for some other bill his constituents wanted – that is pretty much standard practice anyway. It’s “majority rules” so you really only need the vote when it makes a difference in the outcome.

    It’s messy and sleazy, but the other side is basically running an all-out war and in a war, neither side is particularly squeamish about using moles or spies.

    If he now tries to push the Republicans to renounce their homophobic positions (which is really a bone thrown to the religious right wing to get their votes) and if he can make the case that this “deal with the devil” is not in the Republican party’s interests, that will be progress. Let’s not do anything that would prevent that from happening: with no Republican opposition, DADT and DOMA would be repealed in an instant and ENDA would pass almost immediately, so having someone working from within the Republican party is in our best interests.

  • Steve

    A number of Republicans have recently renounced opposition to equal rights for gays. Some of them have gone so far as to say that the Republican party should support equal rights for gays.

    A number of religious leaders have also renounced opposition to equal rights for gays. They recognize that God makes some people gay, and those people do not have a choice in the matter. A few entire denominations even support equal rights and equal ministry.

    The tide has turned. The dawn has come. The full light of day is exposing hate and discrimination for the evil that it is. Sensible leaders will renounce hate and discrimination, and embrace equality. Any Priests and Publicans who do not, will eventually have little influence and few followers.

  • B

    No. 4 · Steve wrote, “A number of Republicans have recently renounced opposition to equal rights for gays. Some of them have gone so far as to say that the Republican party should support equal rights for gays.”

    … and the drubbing they got in the last couple of elections no doubt had a lot to do with it.

  • Queer Supremacist

    @Steve: It’s because they know the bigots have lost the jihad against gays in the long-run, and they don’t want the GOP to go down with the ship.

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