California State Senator Roy Ashburn says he voted against his own best interests because he was “terrified" of being outed.

In an op-ed appearing Tuesday on the website, which is run by the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, a group that supports openly gay elected officials, Ashburn urged Republicans to back gay rights.

“It's time for fair-minded Republicans to speak up for what our party really stands for – individual freedom and limited government,” Ashburn wrote. “If we truly believe the greatness of America is founded on the individual achievements of ordinary citizens acting with the maximum amount of personal liberty, then there should be no debate over where Republicans stand on the rights of LGBT Americans.

The Bakersfield 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.

Ashburn's tenure in the California Legislature includes numerous votes against gay rights bills.

“I chose to conceal who I truly am and to then actually vote against the best interests of people like me,” he said. “All this was done because I was afraid – terrified, really – that somehow I would be revealed as gay.”

The 56-year-old single father of four added that he's “no longer willing, nor able, to remain silent in the face of unequal and hurtful treatment of my community.”