Roy Ashburn: “I’m Gay”

8 Mar

Roy Ashburn, Republican state Senator from California, was arrested last week for driving under the influence. Immediately following the arrest, rumors began to circulate that Ashburn had left a gay nightclub called Faces with an unidentified male companion that same night.

Ashburn put an end to the rumors when he came out to conservative talk show host Ingra Barks, saying “I’m gay…those are the words that have been so difficult for me for so long,” but adding that

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.

As a member of California’s state legislature for 14 years, Ashburn has voted against expanding anti-discrimination laws for gays, recognizing out-of-state gay marriages, and establishing a day of recognition to honor Harvey Milk.

It is unclear to what extent Ashburn will accept his newly-public homosexuality, after lying to his constituents for years and compromising the rights of thousands of gay citizens in California. It’s too late for Ashburn–who does not intend to change his voting behavior and will not seek re-election–to serve as a real, courageous voice for LGBT citizens in the public sphere, but perhaps he can be a cautionary tale for the pressures, shame, and fear facing closeted politicians.

Visit the Victory Fund to find great LGBT candidates to support at the state and local level across the US.

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One Response to “Roy Ashburn: “I’m Gay””

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  1. Victory Fund: Thomas Robichaux « BLoGT: NYU's Queer Blog - April 22, 2010

    […] politicians like Roy Ashburn, […]

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