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08 March, 2010

State Senator Ashburn, Republican, Gay Man

Last week, California State Senator Roy Ashburn was pulled over and given a DUI after leaving a popular gay nightclub with an unidentified male. After much speculation, Mr. Ashburn finally admitted on a radio program that he is, in fact, gay. When asked why he voted against gay rights legislation consistently in his political career, his answer was that he wanted to vote how his constituents would want him to vote.

The answer seems noble enough, but is it honest? Why not come out earlier? I suspect that it is because there is no place in the Republican Party for gay people, a message that constantly reiterated by the GOP. In fact, just a couple of weeks ago, lunatic-fringe extremist group, 'Young Americans for Freedom,' or 'YAF' berated the GOP at CPAC for inviting GOProud, a gay, Republican group, to be a co-sponsor of the event. To come out as a gay Republican is political suicide.

Which is why, I believe, Ashburn is only coming out for two reasons: 1) He was caught. 2) His term limits are up and he can't be elected as a State senator in California again. He has since given up exploring a bid for Congress. These are not reasons at all to come out of the closet. They are forced, and whether someone believes their "personal life" should stay personal or not, knowing his constituents wanted him to vote against gay-rights legislation, isn't it a bit dishonest not to tell those very people that they in fact voted for a gay senator?

At first, I thought that it might be a noble thing to do to only vote as the people in his district would have him. After all, that is what representative democracy is all about. But then I realized just how ridiculous that sounded. If he can represent his constituents, but can't tell them who he really is, then he isn't really honest, he's just trying to stay in power. If he were eligible for re-election, would he have been so quick to come out? If he hadn't been "caught" would he still be living a lie?

I've just been on his website and on the biography page, it proclaims that he is "a champion of openness, accountability, and bi-partisanship." Obviously, openness is in the eye of the beholder-until it explodes in the media.

1 comment:

  1. He got caught, and now he's trying to save face and spin himself as "a champion of openness." If he was really such a champion, he would have been a real champion like Barney Frank, who's told us he was gay all along.