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Republicans leave in a huff during gay recognition ceremony

Republicans leave in a huff during gay recognition ceremony

Several Republican California lawmakers stormed off the assembly floor in the state capitol on Monday during a ceremony to honor the achievements of six high-profile gay Californians, News10/KXTV reports. The legislature's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Caucus sponsored the first Pride Recognition Awards, a program they say is designed to recognize the accomplishments of people who happen to be gay in their respective fields.

Conservative assembly members boycotted the program. "Ladies and gentlemen, I rise to point out the ridiculousness of the exercise," said assembly Republican leader George Plescia of San Diego. "We're wasting a lot of time; we have a lot of bills on the floor."

The honorees included such celebrities as former NFL tackle Esera Tuaolo and Reichen Lehmkuhl, cowinner of the million-dollar prize on the TV reality show The Amazing Race 4. Watching quietly from the back of the room was Lehmkuhl's partner, Lance Bass, a singer with the former boy band 'N Sync. Bass recently went public with the fact he is gay.

Openly gay assemblyman Mark Leno of San Francisco said he hoped the event would benefit Republicans by showing them the "strength of our diversity and the many accomplishments in a variety of disciplines." But approximately 10 Republicans either walked out or boycotted the event altogether. "So it's a great disappointment that they're acting like such children," Leno said. (The Advocate)

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