Creep of the Week: Roy Ashburn

By D'Anne Witkowski

Closet Pro Tip No. 1: If you go to a gay bar and pick up a dude, don't drink and drive.

Closet Pro Tip No. 2: Especially if you're an anti-gay state senator.

Look, I don't care if elected officials want to get they drink on and shake they booties every now and then. Even politicians are entitled to some down-time when they're not hard at work doing the people's business. It's only an issue if the partying gets in the way of said politician doing his job. That's when there needs to be some kind of intervention.

For California Sen. Roy Ashburn, that intervention came last week in the form of a DUI arrest. Granted, being arrested for drunk driving would be blemish enough on a right-wing Republican's record. But getting a DUI after leaving a gay bar? Oops.

Oh, and according to Sacramento station CBS13, "A male passenger ... was also in the car. He was not detained." Oh, he may not have been detained, but he was picked up all right.

Ashburn, a divorced father of four, has a distinguished record of voting against every gay rights measure put in front of him. Recognizing out-of-state marriages between same-sex partners? No way. Honor a champion of gay rights by designating May 22 Harvey Milk Day? Not a chance. Cover LGBT folks under anti-discrimination laws? Please.

But frequent gay bars in Sacramento where you're sure to be recognized? Certainly.

Keep in mind: This is the man who, in a 2005 press release, stated, "We need to preserve traditional values for the future of our children. Children must be raised with morals and principles. As a society, we must provide them with a secured and loving environment that allows them to flourish."

Needless to say, people are crying hypocrisy.

West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon, who actually complained publicly on Facebook last year about seeing Ashburn at gay bars despite his anti-gay record, told CBS13, "You can't just live a double life in politics anymore. To live a secret life and at the same time be attacking exactly the same people you are one of, but you are too ashamed to admit, that's the hypocrisy for folks whether you are gay or not. It's just unacceptable in politics."

But that's not the way Ashburn sees it. According to Californian columnist Lois Henry, Ashland defended his voting record saying he "represents a conservative district and votes as his constituents would want him to."

When Henry asked Ashburn if he was gay, he replied, "Why would that be anyone's business? ... I think there are certain subjects that are simply not relevant and this is one of them. It has no bearing on the job I do."

Um, yes it does. But I think Ashburn knows that now, which is why he decided to announce his homo-ness a couple days later on a local radio station. Though that doesn't mean he's going to stop voting anti-gay. Logically.

"I believe firmly that my responsibility is to my constituents," he said in the interview. "And so, on each measure that may come before me, I will take a careful look at it and apply that standard."

"I am deeply sorry for my actions and offer no excuse for my poor judgment," he added in a statement. "I accept complete responsibility for my conduct and am prepared to accept the consequences for what I did. I am also truly sorry for the impact this incident will have on those who support and trust me."

Makes you wonder what ever happened to the adage, "Larry Craig: Never Forget."

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