State Senator Roy Ashburn, the
California GOP lawmaker with a long anti-gay record recently forced
to admit he's gay, spoke up for the first time on gay issues, the
Sacramento Bee reported.
Speaking on the state Senate floor, the
Republican lawmaker spoke up on two gay-related measures ultimately
approved by lawmakers in the chamber.
Saying that before his coming out he
“would not have been speaking on a measure dealing with sexual
orientation ever,” Ashburn added that he was “no longer willing
or able to remain silent on issues that affect sexual orientation.”
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.
Ashburn voted against openly gay
Senator Mark Leno's bill that exempts clergy from performing civil
marriages that counter his or her own faith. He said he was doing so
because the bill “creates confusion, untenable situation that is
not helpful on this whole issue.”
However, he later flipped his position
on open gay service in the military and voted with the majority to
support a resolution urging Congress to repeal “Don't Ask, Don't
Ashburn, who previously voted against a
similar resolution, said sexual orientation has nothing to do with
military service and called the policy “clearly out of date and