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Signorile Takes on Outed Pol Roy Ashburn

Signorile Takes on Outed Pol Roy Ashburn

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Advocate columnist Michelangelo Signorile, one of the nation's staunchest supporters of outing closeted politicians whose personal lives don't jive with their voting records, scored a Monday radio interview with Calif. Republican state senator Roy Ashburn, whose March arrest for drunken driving was widely publicized because he had just left a Sacramento gay bar.

"I don't believe in outing people," Asburn told Signorile on Sirius Satellite Radio' s OutQ show. "I think you make a very good point, but I just don't support the practice of ... having people revealed against their wishes[.]"

Signorile's take on one of the latest lawmakers to face backlash for supporting an antigay agenda? "My initial reaction at the end of the interview, which I expressed to Ashburn, was that he'd come far, but had a ways to go," Signorile wrote. "But after thinking about it further and hearing from listeners, I'm not really sure he's come far at all. Perhaps he can do some good in the future, trying to change minds in the Republican Party, as he says he desires to do. But he first needs to dig deep and think further about these issues."

In previous interviews 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 told the Los Angeles Times in June. "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."

An audio link to the interview is available here.

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