California State Sen. Roy Ashburn joined a long GOP tradition today of finally admitting he's gay to a Bakersfield radio host. I particularly enjoyed his excuse for his anti-gay voting record--his constituents. I can guarantee Ashburn that there are gay people in his district in Kern County, but I understand from a SF Weekly blog here that it's not the friendliest places--75 percent of the county voted in favor of Prop 8. No wonder he stayed in the closet.
From the Los Angeles Times:
Reporting from Sacramento - A Republican state senator from conservative Bakersfield said Monday that he is homosexual, days after a report that he had been at a gay nightclub in Sacramento before being arrested on drunk driving charges while behind the wheel of his state car last week.
Sen. Roy Ashburn returned to work after being on leave since his arrest early Wednesday not far from the Capitol. The incident had touched off speculation about Ashburn's sexual orientation because a Sacramento television station said it occurred after he left a gay club. And Ashburn drew fire from activists for voting against gay-rights legislation.
The senator, who avoided reporters in the Senate chamber Monday afternoon, broke his silence in an interview on Bakersfield radio station KERN-AM (1180) in the morning, saying the episode had led to "restless nights" and "soul searching."
Ashburn told radio host Inga Barks that he owed his constituents an explanation. She responded, "Do you want me to ask you ... the question, or do you want to just tell people?"
"I am gay," Ashburn answered. "Those are the words that have been so difficult for me for so long. But I am gay. But it is something that is personal and . . . I felt with my heart that being gay didn't affect — wouldn't affect — how I did my job.