Roy Ashburn, R-Bakersfield, had finally admitted to himself what everyone else in the state capitol apparently already knew. Yep, he’s gay. Of course it took a DUI, after he left the best-known gay bar in town, to get him to this point. He reportedly had his boyfriend in the car at the time, too.
In other words, he only admitted it because he got caught red-handed, and it was splattered all over the front page of the Sacramento Bee.
Now, normally I would think “No biggie.” Honestly I think we focus way too much on the sex life of people in the public eye anyway. I’m a “Don’t do it in the street and scare the horses” kind of gal, whether you are gay or straight. But, this is newsworthy because Old Roy never met a piece of gay rights legislation he liked. Yep, Roy was your stereotypical shelf loathing gay who actively worked against gay rights.
His excuse? He said he thought that was what his constituents wanted.
Ok, I have to give him one thing, Bakersfield, and the entire Central Valley is most definitely Glenn Beck territory (shudder). If my neighbors had their druthers, Sarah Palin would be president.
But, do you really think people who think like that would want a partying gay guy as their representative? Yeah, I’m thinking not. I guess it was his own personal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy, but he lied to the voters of his district, plain and simple. They thought they were getting a typical conservative family values guy, and instead they got a guy who spent his free time trolling the local gay bar scene.
Then there is the fact that numerous Central Valley politicians have voted for various gay rights bills and gotten re-elected; it’s not the political suicide that Ashburn made it out to be. And Ashburn did vote to raise taxes last year to close a budget deficit, that was most definitely unpopular back home. Funny, he didn’t have a problem doing the right thing, rather than the popular thing then. Seriously, has there ever been a politician in the history of the US who has voted 100% the way his constituents wanted?
However, I think his problem goes deeper than that, I think Ashburn was lying to himself most of all. The mayor of West Sacramento, who is out, says he had observed Ashburn looking very uncomfortable in the corner in several gay hangouts. That doesn’t sound like a guy is comfortable in his own skin with his sexuality. Add that the fact that a gay rights organization gives him a big fat goose egg for his voting record, and Ashburn might as well change his last name to Cohn and be done with it.
If he hadn’t been busted for a DUI, he might have gone his entire life lying to everyone. That’s a hard way to live, but I don’t have much sympathy for him, given the fact that through his lies, he made life a little bit harder for the rest of the gay community.