CA State Sen. Roy Ashburn: ‘I am Sorry’ for Harming Gay People

California State Senator Roy Ashburn, who was outed after he was arrested for DUI following a visit to a gay nightclub in March, is continuing his about-face, apologizing for the shameful things he did while in office in a guest commentary over at the Victory Fund.

Ashburn  Writes Ashburn, in part:

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 26 years, the voters in my area of California trusted 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.

Read Ashburn's full commentary at Gay Politics


  1. Distingue Traces says

    Yeah, I’m always sorry after I get caught, too.

    Has he mentioned being sorry for the drunk driving?

  2. James says

    The hard part for me in hearing his apologies is that I honestly believe that had he not been forcibly outed he would never have ‘come to his senses’.

    It makes it very hard to trust his word.

  3. TampaZeke says

    As far as I’m concerned, Apology accepted. Now it’s time to PUT UP and get to work putting some actions behind your words.

    Welcome to the family Mr. Ashburn. More importantly, welcome to the trenches and welcome to the fight of your life trying to undue the damage you and others have done. I hope you know what your in for being on this side of the divide in this hateful environment that you helped create. I hope you are ready to face the hate and nastiness from those who you used to call friends, allies and brothers.

    I commend your public turn around. You can’t change the past and without hope of redemption what incentive is there for ANYONE to change. You can only do what you’ve BEGUN to do today. The proof of your sincerity will come from your words, your activism, your work and your fight from here on out.

    I sincerely hope that you live up to your words and I sincerely hope that you find peace and happiness in your new truth in spite of the hateful world around you that you helped to create.

    Most of us will forgive, but we will never forget.

  4. yonkersconquers says

    He has to live with his own legacy, which I for one think will be punishment enough.

  5. Barry says

    It should also be noted that this is his final term as state senator – pretty much a lame duck. If he’s being honest about regretting his votes, he should focus on actions instead of words. Otherwise I fear he’s just really just another gay biography writing, twink chasing, drunk driving, self-hating homo available to speak at the next Log Cabin convention.

  6. Dawnell_do says

    You say you’re sorry but how long will it be before you do it again, it’s only a matter of time.

  7. Mike B. says

    @James, he could have taken the Larry Craig route, or he could have retired and avoided the public spotlight.

    Anyway, I’m sure it’s freeing to legislate without the possibility of being re-elected. I hope that translates to votes for progress.

  8. Dave says

    That is what a apology looks like. I accept his apology and I am glad that he is in the GOP; that is the district that he serves and they need to hear his message a lot more than we do.

  9. Fahd says

    This is really a situation where someone should step out of the public eye and seek redemption through service to the community. I’m sure he could help gay people in a less public fashion as a living amends.

    Naturally, its interesting to see how these “incidents” unfold. I still can’t believe that airport mens’ room guy from Idaho rode out his term as U.S. Senator.

  10. SD_Guy says

    How many of you people are in CA? The guy has actually been doing a ton of interviews (LA Times, SD U-T, etc.) where he pretty much owns what he did, acknowledges he’s not going to get forgiven and doesn’t expect it, and speaks pretty bluntly about his experiences and how he made stupid choices. The guy doesn’t cut a sympathetic figure, but given his past behavior, this is really the best thing he could have done. Oh, and by the way, he NEVER apologizes for the actual fact that he’s gay, and never calls it a choice. He’s not being self-hating over the whole thing, and he’s also been (eventually) sponsoring gay-positive legislation.

    Look, the guy f**ked up, and you don’t have to forgive him. But he doesn’t have to go out and do interviews that speak honestly about the psychological destructiveness of the closet, and he doesn’t have to participate in the public discussion on gay rights, and he is, so don’t crap on him for it.

  11. ichabod says

    Apology accepted. Now if only all his closeted colleagues would see the light and follow his example (without getting arrested for a DUI, of course).

  12. says

    Evidenced by his past actions, the man doesn’t have a conscience. Given his current predicament, the best course of action- to further his career- would be to do an ‘about-face’, give a mea culpa, and hope that his constituents will not only forgive him, but embrace him.

    It’s a political ploy. Don’t believe him.

  13. Dave says

    “Pointless irrelevance. Who cares…it changes nothing.” Get a clue Tank… This was and is still a national story and not only has the man acknowledged ALL of his hypocrisy he is atoning…. Pointless irrelevance is that feeling you get thirty seconds after you blow your load reflecting on your life after college football “TANK”. Having a member of the self-hating homo GOP club come out, do an about face, stay in the GOP and give numerous interviews and speeches airing his and their dirty laundry will go a long way in changing hearts and minds. The fact that you don’t care is what is Pointless and irrelevant.

  14. TANK says

    Eat shit, bootlicker. the damage is done. The only purpose he’s serving now is the restoration of his public perception. He will not reverse any of the damage he’s done, nor can he make up for it with a mere apology. He’s not changing public opinion–he was a deeply closeted, radically antigay politician for most of his life who only “saw the light” after being busted with a trick/whore in his car for a DUI–without which, he’d still be a radically antigay republican pol.

    Dave, stupid faggots like you bring us all down.

  15. Jack says

    Now you say you’re sorry, for treating me untrue.
    Well, you can cry me a river,
    cry me a river.
    I cried a river over you

  16. jamal49 says

    Is it too little too late or better late than never? Is it put or shut up? Is it forgive and forget or forgive but never forget? I can’t decide. For 26 years this guy made the lives of LGBT a living hell. The question remains: if he had not been “busted” for drunk-driving and “outed”, would he have still been the model republicon, pandering to his constituents in the most execrable ways by continuing to vote against LGBT civil equality? Actions will speak louder than words. I guess we’ll just have to see.

  17. Dave says

    Tank…. Are you coming on to me?…. Sorry but I’ve just gotten out of an abusive relationship and I’ve sworn off ex-jock meat-heads for good! You’ll find someone to be sure… 😉

  18. TANK says

    Is the glass half empty or half full, jamal49? Is that a distinction without a difference or a difference without a distinction? Do you ghost write for jack handey?

  19. B-rod says

    Too little, too late, asshole. They always find Jebsus AFTER they’re caught leaving a gay bar (or blowing someone in a public toilet).

    I really hope this guy finds himself lock alone in a room with Mel Gibson for a month.

  20. Dave says

    You guys did read what he said right? What would you have him do? I would rather have him say things like, “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. “ Rather than, “ I have sinned against God and my community and for that I am sorry, but I must say I am not, nor have I ever been a homosexual.” This is NOT typical GOP hand in the cookie jar clap trap. I mean honestly guys… Let’s try not to rip defeat from the hands of victory here.

  21. major707 says

    Now after reading these comments I can understand why some think we don’t deserve equal treatment…..what a bunch of assholes. I am one of the group that believes we should out politicians that vote against our rights, but if this is the attitude we take when they are forced out it will only encourage them to go deeper in hiding so they can continue to do us harm. In my mind this is what we should be trying to accomplish by outing politicians! Look at the other we have tried to out that continue to deny and continue to vote against us. In the case of Ashburn, this is the outcome we want.

  22. Dave says

    Thank you Major707 for taking the time to actually read, reflect and respond the way an adult would, it’s truly refreshing….. Tank, step away from the androgen, take a deep breath and re-read and ponder before typing.

  23. says

    B.S. For over 26 years he was a gay hating Republican. He lost his anti-gay constituency, NOW he wants to make amends to the gay community because he was ‘caught’. If he hadn’t been caught, he would still be shafting gays. He’s a typical politician, and sits on the side of the fence that feeds him. He would turn his back on his mother if it meant power.

  24. ChrisM says

    I’m always skeptical of apologies after one has been caught. I don’t see forgiving people as my job, that’s what they have their religion for but I am willing to look past their shortcomings and errors if the make an honest effort to correct them. I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt once I’ve seen how he moves forward. The only good advice I ever got from a Republican was “trust but verify” – so, I’ll trust that this is a sincere apology but I’ll verify it by watching his future actions. If he fails to move forward with some constructive and positive actions toward those people he has harmed in the past then I’ll simply write him off as another typical political hypocrite.