Ashburn (finally) talks gay rights on Senate floor
May 27, 2010
State Sen. Roy Ashburn [R-Bakersfield] took to the floor Thursday morning and discussed his sexuality before casting votes on two separate gay-rights bills. [Los Angeles Times]
The move came two months after the long-time conservative firebrand announced that he was gay on a Bakersfield radio talk show, following an arrest for DUI after leaving a well-known gay bar in Sacramento.
Ashburn was the only Republican senator to vote in support of allowing openly gay people to serve in the military. However, he voted against a second bill that would have made same-sex marriages easier to obtain in California.
“I would not have been speaking on a measure dealing with sexual orientation even prior to the events that have transpired in my life over the last three months,” Ashburn told his colleagues. “However I am no longer willing or able to remain silent on issues that affect sexual orientation and the rights of individuals. And I am doing something that is quite different and foreign to me, and it’s highly emotional.”
Ashburn has regularly voted against gay rights bills in the past, but argued that those votes reflected the feelings of his constituents.
The resolution passed the Senate on a vote of 24 to 7.
Ashburn will not be running for re-election due to term limits.