Roy Ashburn Hub

Mark Foley Mayoral Run Would Test Political Forgiveness

Markfoleymayor2 Former Rep. Mark Foley's political career imploded in 2006, when it was revealed that the Republican had sent sexually explicit emails and IMs to underage male congressional pages.

The charges were especially shocking considering Foley had previously voted against LGBT rights, and the lawmaker resigned in disgrace.

People assumed Foley's political days were behind him: he came out of the closet, became a real estate agent and enjoyed life in West Palm Beach with his boyfriend, a dermatologist.

Then, last year, Foley began becoming more ingrained in the local political scene, hosting both a radio show and fundraisers. It wasn't long until rumors began circulating that Foley planned to run for West Palm Beach mayor.

Now, as the filing deadline approaches, Foley appears ready to announce his bid.

Will voters forgive and forget Foley's past transgressions? And, more importantly, should they?

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Roy Ashburn Scores High With Equality California

Roy Ashburn's life has changed considerably since his arrest in Sacramento earlier this year.

Equality California has just ranked him a very respectable score on their legislative list - 86. That's much higher than his ranking last year, when it was zero. The California State Senator claims that it was his coming out that changed how he does his job these days.

The Sacramento Bee reports:

6a00d8341c730253ef0133f365b61d970b Sen. Roy Ashburn, who came out earlier this year after rumors surfaced that he was at a gay night club the night he was arrested for drunken driving, scored 86 percent in
Equality California's 2010 legislative scorecard -- higher than some Democrats on the list.

The Bakersfield Republican was given a grade of zero percent from the group in 2009 , when he voted against or abstained on every single bill included in the ranking.

This year, he supported 12 out of 14 of the measures that factored into the Senate scores.

Ashburn defended his earlier record after publicly disclosing his sexual orientation earlier this year -- saying his votes were aligned with the views of his district constituents -- but soon changed his course by speaking out and voting for a handful of LGBT-supportive bills.

"I would not have been speaking on a measure dealing with sexual orientation ever, prior to the events that have transpired in my life over the last three months," Ashburn said on the floor this year, during a vote for a bill he ultimately did not support. "I am no longer willing or able to remain silent on issues that affect sexual orientation, the rights of individuals and so I'm doing something that is quite different and foreign to me."

Click here to see how other politicians fared on Equality California's scorecard.

What else is Ashburn up to these days? Like most people these days he's working on a book which, according to the Bakersfield Californian, will be out "soon."

Roy Ashburn Sympathizes With Ken Mehlman

Roy Ashburn spoke to On Top Magazine and the gay magazine asked him about Ken Mehlman's recent coming out. Taking Ashburn's anti-gay history, subsequent coming out and reformed gay rights stance into consideration, his life in many ways mirrors Mehlman's so his response shouldn't come as much of a surprise.

AshSaid Ashburn: "I'm pleased for him, because knowing what I've been through in trying to keep a secret for so many years and in trying to hide my secret, doing things that were hurtful to gay people, coming to the realization that you can actually admit who you truly are, and to stop the hiding and the actions around that which are hurtful … I mean that's a big breakthrough and I'm happy for him."

Ashburn, who is nearing the end of his state senate seat, says he won't abandon his party and actually thinks that they could actually be the political party for gay rights.

“I would argue that the Republican party, because of the principles underlying Republicanism, really is the party that should be championing equal rights for gay people, for all people. For me this is very clear.”

It's great that he can wish for that kind of progressive change but that's not hapening anytime soon.

California Senate Passes 'Gay Cure' Bill, Resolution to Repeal DOMA

A measure to remove an archaic California law that required state health officials to seek a cure for homosexuality, which was passed by the California Assembly in April, passed the full Senate yesterday on a 36-0 vote with no debate:

California "The bill updating a 60-year-old law was sent back to the Assembly Monday for final action. The law passed in 1950 classifies gays as sexual deviants. It requires the Department of Mental Health to research the causes and potential cures for homosexuality. The bill, AB2199, was carried by Sen. Roy Ashburn, a Republican from Bakersfield. Ashburn revealed he was gay earlier this year after he was cited for driving drunk while leaving a gay bar."

The California Senate also passed a resolution calling on President Obama to repeal DOMA:

"The state Senate voted 22-12 Monday for a resolution urging that the 1996 law be overturned. It defines marriage as being between a man and a woman and allows states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. The Assembly approved AJR19 last August."

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...

Gay California Senator Roy Ashburn: I Was a Hypocrite


Four months after he was outed following a DUI arrest after a visit to a gay bar, California state senator Roy Ashburn talked with News10 about living openly as a gay man:

"The hypocracy (sic) is true. I lived a double life. I had tremendous passion and drive to be in public life, to be elected, and I've had a remarkable political career...No one has really spoken to me about my votes and I've decided that I'm going to vote the truth. I am no longer going to vote against rights for people because they happen to be gay or bi or transgendered. I'm not going to do that."

Ashburn says he'll remain a Republican: "The Republican party is the party that believes in limited government and individual freedom. The government doesn't get involved in people's private lives. And yet, I think the Republican party is viewed as the anti-gay rights party, and I think that's very regrettable."


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