Reports Place Anti-Gay Senator at Gay Bar

Comments (4)

A Republican State Senator with a history of opposing gay rights was arrested and charged with drunk driving early Wednesday morning, reportedly after leaving a gay bar downtown. Senator Roy Ashburn (R-Bakersfield) failed a field sobriety test and was taken into custody. He was in the car with an unidentified male passenger. Ashburn is a long time opponent of same sex marriage. In 2005 he joined Rev. Lou Sheldon  of the Traditional Values Coalition at a rally to support traditional marriage. He even issued a statement saying, in part, "We need to preserve traidtional values for the future of our children. Children must be raised with morals and principles."  According to Project Vote Smart, Ashburn has a perfect record voting against gay rights legislation, including a "no" vote against a resolution opposing Prop. 8. Ashburn offered an apology for his arrest, but made no mention of reports he'd been at a gay bar.

MARCH 8TH UPDATE: Senator Ashburn acknowledged he was gay today on a radio program in Bakersfield. "I'm gay," Ashburn told KERN radio host  Inga Barks in an interview. "Those are the words that have been so difficult for me for so long." When asked why he voted against his own interests for so many years, he said: "My votes reflect the wishes of the people in my district. I have always felt that my faith and allegiance was to the people, there, in the district, my constituents. And so as each of these individual measures came before the Legislature I cast 'no' votes, usually 'no' votes, because the measures were . . . almost always acknowledging rights or assigning identification to homosexual persons."

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  • Brian

    This is just another example of politician not being truthful with themselves and with the public. Being gay is nothing to be ashamed of, but being a liar, certainly is. In our democracy, the public expects honesty from its elected officials. Elected officials will enjoy the respect of the public when they start voting from their hearts instead of what is policially popular for them. We teach our children this, why can’t policial officials, especially with children, do the same. If gay people were given the same rights as everyone else, this hypocracy would disappear.

  • Eric

    First off, I am FOR the repeal of Prop 8. I am for gay marriage and rights. However, if Senator Ashburn is telling the truth about Bakersfield being predominantly anti-gay, and he truly voted with the people’s wishes in mind, then I applaud him. To put his own personal beliefs beneath those of the people he serves is an example of how this county is supposed to be run. Again, this is assuming that he was following the wishes of those he serves.

    That said, anyone up for a gay rights demonstration in Bakersfield?

  • Owen

    I disagree, Eric. The argument he’s using is basically the Nuremburg defense. He’s saying he just followed orders. If true, he was in a position where he had to choose between doing what he presumably felt was moral or ethical, and doing what would keep him employed. He chose the second one. That’s not especially laudable. He voted his personal interest, then explained it afterward in a way that makes him sound good. In other words, he’s a schmuck. Throw Him To The Dogs!

  • Rico

    I agree with Eric. The second and third posters are obviously putting their personal beliefs in front of the people who voted the senator in office. What the senator did says a lot in my book. I wont judge the senator by what I believe he is doing but rather by what he has done. The senator should be applauded.