- Joined Oct 9, 2005
State Sen. Roy Ashburn, the Bakersfield Republican who was arrested in Sacramento last week on suspicion of drunk driving, came out as gay in a radio interview this morning.
"I am gay. And so, those are the words that have been so difficult for me for so long," Ashburn told radio host Inga Barks on her show on the KERN station in Bakersfield.
The announcement follows days of intense scrutiny of Ashburn's personal life after he was arrested just after 2 a.m. on March 3. A Sacramento television station reported that Ashburn was at a popular gay dance club that night and several people have said they have seen the senator at gay bars in the city.
His sexual orientation is at issue because Ashburn has one of the staunchest records of voting against bills that would expand rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Californians.
Ashburn did not specifically say that he was at a gay club the night of his arrest, but said, "through my own actions I made my personal life public."
He defended his voting record, saying he cast votes that his constituents wanted. Ashburn represents the 18th Senate District, which covers a huge swath of the central and southern part of the state.
"I felt my duty, and I still feel this way, is to represent my constituents," Ashburn said, adding later that "I don't think it's something that has affected or will affect how I do my job."
The senator is expected to be back at the Capitol today when the Senate meets for a 2 p.m. floor session.
"I pray to God that I can find peace and I want to go back to work in the Senate and work hard for the people who sent me to the Legislature," he said.
Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/nov05election/detail?entry_id=58665#ixzz0hdutB4Zl