State Senator Roy Ashburn – the
recently out California GOP lawmaker with a long anti-gay record –
has been awarded a “Pink Brick.”
The annual award is given out by the
San Francisco Lesbian, Gay Bisexual and Transgender Pride Committee.
It's given to the person or institution “whose actions are deemed to
have caused significant harm to the LGBT community.”
The 56-year-old Republican's sexuality
came under close scrutiny after details of a March 3 drunk-driving
arrest were made public, including the fact that he was traveling
with a male companion after leaving a popular Sacramento gay bar.
After evading the press for five days,
the conservative lawmaker and father of four told talk show host Inga
Banks: “I am gay.” Social conservatives immediately asked for
Ashburn's resignation, while Republicans gave the termed-out
Bakersfield lawmaker a pass.
“This is the very first time in Pink
Brick Award history that an out gay person is the recipient,” Amy
Andre, executive director of SF Pride, said in a statement. “By
selecting Sen. Roy Ashburn, the LGBT community is sending a strong
message to the world that LGBT people – especially those with the
political power and privilege to further LGBT rights – have a
responsibility to work toward liberation for all.”
Previous honorees of the award include
former Miss California Carrie Prejean, California Governor Arnold
Schwarzenegger and Fox New's Bill O'Reilly.
“We hope this year's Pink Brick
recipient … realizes that it's never too late for him – or anyone
else – to choose liberation and justice over shame, fear and
silence,” the group's president Mikayla Connell said.
Ashburn pleaded no contest to a charge
of driving under the influence of alcohol and was sentenced to three
years of informal probation and 48 hours in the county lockup.