California state Sen. Roy Ashburn, a conservative Republican who came out as gay after a drunken-driving arrest in March, took to the floor of the Senate to tell colleagues he was no longer going to stay silent on LGBT-equality issues. "Being gay or straight has nothing to do with ability, devotion, courage, honor, skill and loyalty -- the characteristics that I think we would all agree are desirable and necessary for those who serve in our national military," Ashburn said, speaking about the U.S. military's ban on openly gay troops.

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