Last week, we discussed the arrest of anti-gay California Senator Roy Ashburn (R., Bakersfield) for DUI after reportedly leaving a gay bar with an unidentified man. He has now confirmed that he is in fact gay.
The statement came in an interview with KERN radio host Inga Barks when Ashburn stated “I’m gay. Those are the words that have been so difficult for me for so long.”
He explained his staunch anti-Gay voting record as “a reflection of how the majority of voters in his conservative district would have wanted him to vote . . .I felt my duty — and I still feel this way — is to represent my constituents, not my own point of view, not my own internal conflict.” Really? This is not exactly what the Framers envisioned of the role of a legislator in a representative democracy. Leaders are expected on occasion to lead, particularly on civil rights and liberties.” He voted against anti-discrimination laws and the recognition of out-of-state gay marriages. Last year, he opposed a bill to establish a day of honoring slain gay rights activist Harvey Milk.
He insists that being gay is not “something that has affected, nor will it affect, how I do my job.” That is the particularly pathetic part of the interview. Ashburn would like to continue to serve as a senator, voting against his personal beliefs to bar citizens from full civil rights. What exactly is the draw of public service to such a person? I would think that the father of four would have less difficulty explaining that he is gay than why he continues to vote against his own beliefs just to stay a state senator.
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