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Five Years Later, Bakersfield's Roy Ashburn Reflects On His Journey

The California State Capitol Building in Sacramento (file photo)
Andrew Nixon
Capital Public Radio
file photo

A former Republican lawmaker who came out as gay months before leaving the California Legislature says he was wrong to oppose gay rights measures – including bills to legalize same-sex marriage.

Roy Ashburn termed out after representing Bakersfield for 14 years in the Assembly and Senate. He was arrested for drunken driving five years ago after leaving a gay night club in Sacramento. He came out days later.

In an interview with Capital Public Radio, also broadcast on FM89's Valley Edition, Ashburn said he believes there will soon be openly gay Republicans in Congress and the California Legislature. He says “fear” is all that’s holding the party back.

Ashburn now lives in Los Angeles and is registered to vote without party preference.