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State Sen. Roy Ashburn disavows his gay-rights record

July 20, 2010 |  4:25 pm

State Sen. Roy Ashburn (R-Bakersfield), who earlier this year acknowledged that he is gay, has disavowed his record of voting against gay rights in the Legislature.

"I am sincerely sorry for the votes I cast and the actions I took that harmed lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people," he writes in an online opinion piece.

He argues in the essay on gaypolitics.com that it is “time for fair-minded Republicans to speak up” for such rights.

“I am no longer willing, nor able, to remain silent in the face of unequal and hurtful treatment of my community,” he wrote.

Ashburn, 56, is serving his final year in the Senate.  He apologized for “regrettably and selfishly” voting against gay rights during his tenure as a lawmaker. “All this was done because I was afraid -- terrified, really -- that somehow I would be revealed as gay,” he wrote.

Ashburn acknowledged that, as a gay Republican, “I am somewhat of a novelty in politics,” but says he now fully embraces that bully pulpit to battle for gay rights.

“How can it possibly be that there is a partisan political divide over equal rights in America?”

-- Shane Goldmacher in Sacramento