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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, July 16, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 29
My journey, my party and LGBT rights
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My journey, my party and LGBT rights

The following is a guest commentary by Sen. Roy Ashburn

Startled by the blurry reality of a red light glaring in my rear-view mirror at 2 am on the morning on March, 4, 2010, I knew my life was about to change. The California Highway Patrol stopped me as I was driving drunk after leaving a gay club in Sacramento, California's capital. With my arrest and the media inquiry that followed, my deeply-held secret was no longer my own business. My private life as a closeted gay man was now the public's business, and I had a lot of explaining to do. I should begin with an apology. I am sincerely sorry for the votes I cast and the actions I took that harmed lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Just as important to me, I am sorry for not stepping forward and speaking up as an elected official on behalf of equal treatment for all people. For nearly twenty-six years, the voters in my area of California entrusted me as their elected representative. I look back now knowing there is so much more I could have done to inform the public about LGBT people and to fight for equal rights under the law. Regrettably and selfishly, I took another path in my life and political career - I chose to conceal who I truly am and to then actually vote against the best interests of people like me. All this was done because I was afraid - terrified, really - that somehow I would be revealed as gay.

My past actions harmed gay people. In fact, all people are harmed when there is unequal treatment of anyone under the constitution and laws of our country. I do not believe in discrimination, and yet my votes advanced unequal of treatment of gay people and promoted the suspicion and fear that limits people from being forthright and accepted in society.

Now, from what I have lived and learned, I want to do the best that I can to advance equality and freedom for all people. Given the shame and confusion that many feel over their sexual orientation, perhaps my situation can serve as an example of both the harm that can come from denial and fear, and the opportunity to try to make things right.

full story:
http://www.gaypolitics.com/2010/07/19/ my-journey-my-party-and-lgbt-rights/

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