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

March 8, 2010 |  2:32 pm

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