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Since he was outed after a DUI arrest in March upon leaving a Sacramento gay bar, Calif. Republican state senator Roy Ashburn is now sober, regretful of his antigay voting record, but relieved that he is now living as an openly gay man.
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Ashburn said he increasingly pushed the limits of his closeted status in recent years, attending gay pride festivals in San Diego and Las Vegas, but paradoxically was "paralyzed" by fear that he would be outed -- thus leading to votes against recognition of a statewide Harvey Milk Day, marriage equality, and even insurance coverage rights for same-sex partners.
"I just want people to know who I am and what's in my heart. I kept that from people," Ashburn said. "I concealed it from everyone for almost all my life, so I'm [now] privileged to work with people from all aspects of life, including organizations devoted to advancing the rights of gay and lesbian and transgendered individuals."
In a wide-ranging interview, Ashburn said he was particularly mortified by a 2005 rally against marriage rights for same-sex couples that the Bakersfield, Calif. politician helped to organize.
"How I ever got into that is beyond me," he said. "I was very uncomfortable with that, and I told one of my confidantes, 'I'm never doing that again.' It was not what I wanted to do, it wasn't me, but I helped to organize and lent my name."
Read the full interview with the L.A. Times' Patt Morrison here.
Outed Pol Roy Ashburn: "I'm Sensing Relief Now"" >