March 8, 2010 at 12:33 pm EST | by Chris Johnson
Conservative Calif. state senator comes out as gay in radio interview

UPDATE: Ashburn has come out as gay during his radio appearance, according to the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund.

“I am gay,” Ashburn was quoted as saying.  “Those are the words that have been so difficult for me for so long.  It is something that is personal, and I don’t believe I felt with my heart that being gay would affect how I do my job.”

Asked about his voting record, Ashburn said he felt his duty was to represent what he thought his constituents wanted.


A conservative state lawmaker who was charged with a DUI after allegedly leaving a gay bar plans to come out as gay on Monday in a radio interview, DC Agenda has learned.

State Sen. Roy Asburn plans to announce he’s gay on Kern News Talk, a conservative talk radio station which airs in California. Ashburn will make the announcement on a program that airs from noon to 3 pm.

On Wednesday, Ashburn reportedly was pulled over while driving by police and charged with two misdemeanors: driving under the influence and driving with a blood alcohol level at .08% or higher. CBS 13 reported that prior to his arrest, Ashburn had left a gay bar, Faces, with another man.

According to CBS 13, Ashburn is a father of four. As a Republican senator representing conservative districts in California, Ashburn has a history of opposing LGBT rights. He’s voted against many pro-LGBT rights measures including recognition of out-of-state same-sex marriage, Harvey Milk Day and expansion of non-discrimination laws.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

  • I am happy for him that he came “out”, but isn’t it hyprcritical that he fought against us for so long and now all of a sudden we find out he was a closet case, I think he owes the gay community a heart felt apology.

  • He says he would’ve voted the same way regardless, so I don’t think he’s hypocritical. Besides, I don’t think he regrets his votes, so I don’t want his hollow apology.

    Believe it or not, there are openly gay people who take anti-gay stands on principle. I don’t agree with them, but I wouldn’t call them hypocrites (though, I do have a few other choice names that spring to mind).

  • Okay, so how’s it not hypocritcal to vote against gays when you’re gay yourself? Seriously.

  • But Sheldon nobody knew he was gay when he was voting against us, so yes it is hyprcritical.

  • The only reason a person could claim to be casting a principled vote to deny others civil rights is to believe that you don’t believe that the group in question is worthy. In Ashburn’s case, I don’t think he has the integrity to serve anyone honestly. I would question his obvious need to drink to excess.

    I think the only reason he’s not running for reelection is that the voters in his district wouldn’t vote for him again.

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