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Conservative lawmaker comes out of the closet. Is it really a big deal?

State Sen. Roy Ashburn (R-Bakersfield) voted against a bill that would have allowed same-sex marriages in California. The bill was later vetoed by the governor. Ashburn also was among the minority in voting against legislation last year that designated May 22 of each year as Harvey Milk Day.

Talk back L.A.On Monday, Ashburn told a Bakersfield radio station that he's gay. His statement comes several days after he was arrested on drunk driving charges after allegedly leaving a gay bar in Sacramento.

"I am gay,'' Ashburn said. "And so I … those are the words that have been so difficult for me for so long. But I am gay. But it is something that is personal and ... I felt with my heart that being gay didn't affect -- wouldn't affect -- how I did my job." 

On PolitiCal, Patrick McGreevy reports that Ashburn's interview on KERN comes after a week of speculation and Internet innuendo. But should it hurt his political career? Did he do the right thing in his radio interview? Share your views below.

Read more about the Ashburn on PolitiCal, The Times California Politics Blog.

Photo: Roy Ashburn. Credit: California State Senate

 
Comments () | Archives (19)

The disgrace is driving while drunk, not in being gay. No one cares about the latter.

It's not a "big deal" as you say because Ashburn has pledged to oppose gay rights. He has been very clear in saying that homosexuals (like himself) should not be allowed in the military where they might prey upon young males - nor should they be allowed to defile the sanctity of marriage. Ashburn even led an anti-gay rally with his friend Rev Lou Sheldon. Of course "it's not a big deal".

Any elected figure gives up the right to privacy when he or she take office.
Whether that loss of privacy is intended or just consequential, each public official becomes open to inspection by the public in all aspects of their lives.
If the senator hid his sexual orientation from the people in order to win the election, he should bear full political responsibility for his decisions--especially if he fought against rights for his homosexual peers while taking full advantage of the friendships and lifestyle that being homosexual brought.

I am sick of people announcing "they are gay." Why the hell do they need to announce what kind of sex they have? We live in fricken bizarro world.

A group has a view point. A person that hides his view point and act as to he shares this groups view point. Then, it is found that this person actually does not really share the view point of this group. Does it invalidate the view point of this group? This in no way or form invalidate the view point of gay marriage is wrong.

Will his career be hurt? Probably. Who will support him the anti-gay conservatives, no hes gay. The gay population? i doubt it, he doesn't support them. Maybe the better question is "On a scale of 1-10, how much of a hypocrite is this guy"

Did he do the right thing in coming out? I believe so, better to not keep skeletons in your closet, especially if was was arrested outside a gay bar, it is better not to have rumors going around, instead, man up and say that its true

This is nothing new. Drunk, gay, and Republican, is no revelation these days. The disgrace is not being gay; it's not being drunk; it's being Republican.

Being out of the closet and Republican is having your cake and eating it too. Will be interesting to see what he does now.

He says he voted against gay rights because that's what his constituents wanted. He knew that no ones chooses to be gay, otherwise he could just 'choose' to not be gay. He lied to get the job. He stood up and denounce people who were born gay like he was insisting that they were choosing a "lifestyle" rather than just trying to live as a sexual minority.

If he wants to come clean, explain that he has suffered by being in the loset but now will fight for civil rights for homosexuals, fine. Otherwise he's a political deviant and should resign.

another republican hypercite

this guy is a classic Hypocrite. he's bashing the same people he's sleeping with .
if you're gay, live like it and be honest about it.

There's a disconnect in the way people are thinking about this. If you maintain an anti-gay voting record while all along you are secretly gay, that makes you a hypocrite, according to many people. The implicit meaning behind this is that deep down people know that, if you are gay yourself, you actually know the truth of the thing: that is, that you have not made a choice about your sexuality; that it is a fundamental, inalienable and vital part of your nature; that on the other hand you are not different in any important way from the people around you; that you can contribute as much and as valuably to society as anybody else. So, you can only go on an anti-gay voting spree if you are suffering from substantial self-hatred, in which case you need help, or else if you are a complete idiot and a hypocrite. So far so good. However, the interesting thing to me is that it suggests that even rabid anti-gay conservatives fundamentally know that the line they take about homosexuality is not true. If it were, then there would be nothing hypocritical about what Ashburn has done.

It wouldn't be a big deal if he hadn't been such a pathetic hypocrite. He has proudly trumpeted his opposition, not just to gay marriage, but to many other gay rights initiatives. He has said even now that he will continue to support all anti-gay initiatives. If those tings weren't true, this would be no big deal.

It absolutely is a big deal - not because he's gay, but because he felt compelled to live closeted for so long while he voted with incredible hypocrisy. He treated people exactly like himself as second-class citizens, not deserving of the same Constitutional protections and rights afforded everyone else. Talk about self-loathing! I hope he finds peace in this revelation, and as a conservative politician, chooses the high road as a spokesperson for gay people in California and beyond.

Ha Ha, that is about the funniest thing I have ever heard! I just LOVE that this miserable hypocrite's career (and hopefully) life are now ruined! Another lying scumbag politician is exposed for the corrupt hypocrite he really is. Sigh...


What a hypocrite!!!

WOW an elected offical who actually listens to the people who elected him even when legislation would benefit him! He's a keeper folks and should be the "poster child" for all politicians! That is the BIG DEAL!

DUI shameful but not unforgivable. Voting based the constituents needs that put you in office I score him a 10 a keeper. His personal life is his own business. And the answer is NO it is not really a big deal.

He voted against gay marriage because he's a coward. He can stay in the closet or pretend he's straight because the gay world doesn't want his kind.


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