Alex Blaze

Roy Ashburn makes the case for outing

Filed By Alex Blaze | May 31, 2010 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: California, coming out of the closet, Don't Ask Don't Tell, marriage, outing, roy ashburn

Roy Ashburn, a California legislator whose closet burned down around him, talked to the local paper about how being outed changed him:

On Thursday in a remarkably candid interview, Ashburn, who had long been a no vote on gay rights legislation, called himself a hypocrite.

"My practice in my entire political career when it came to gay issues was to prevent any kind of spotlight from being shined my way, because I was in hiding. So casting any kind of vote might, could in some way, lead to my secret being revealed," he said.

"That was terrifying to me. It was paralyzing. So I cast some votes that have denied gay people of their basic, equal treatment under the law, and I'm not proud of it. I'm not going to do that again," Ashburn said.

He recently voted for a resolution to ask Congress end DADT and against a rather pointless bill that reaffirmed the First Amendment, so... I guess change is possible.

He's also working on his alcoholism:

On a personal level, Ashburn said he's happy.

His sexuality came to light in a very public way after he got a DUI leaving a gay bar in Sacramento.

"I outed myself, I really did," he said. "I was drinking and doing riskier and riskier things."

He's quit drinking and attends Alcohol Anonymous classes twice weekly. And he's been taking public transit and riding his bicycle to get to work.

"I made a vow that I wouldn't have a state worker drive me since the average person wouldn't have that luxury if they got a DUI," he said.

He's lost 14 pounds and enjoys his commuting routine.

"I'm seeing things I never noticed before and I'm smelling the roses, really, that's what I do."

He says that his politics haven't changed, that he's still "for limited government and individual freedom." Too bad for him that "limited government" folks tend to be homophobic and that his constituency, according to him wasn't the most gay-friendly crowd. It'd be interesting to see what he does if he survives this next election, to see how his politics change six months, a year out, but I doubt we'll find out.

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GraciesDaddy GraciesDaddy | May 31, 2010 4:43 PM

That's... quite an about-face.

I do believe he's sincere, however, it'll take some time before the sting of his past anti-gay behavior goes away.

His constituents in conservative Bakersfield are probably ready to spit nails by now, though.

Just goes to show that redemption is always possible.

"The truth will set you free" is not just written in a bible somewhere because it sounds good.
It works.
If it's the truth.

Ashburn isn't running again, he's out under California's term limits law. He doesn't have enough name recognition to run for a statewide office. His congressional district (CA-22)has a Cooks PVI of R+16, he could win as a regular Republican, but this next cycle he'd be teabagged into oblivion.

He could conceivably run for CA Assembly or US Congress, but he wouldn't survive a Republican primary in either.