The family-values California Republican legislator who was reported to have been at a gay club on the night last week that he was arrested for drunk driving has acknowledged he is gay.
“I’m gay,” State Senator Roy Ashburn told a radio host from his central California district in an interview this morning. “Those are the words that have been so difficult for me for so long.”
Ashburn, a divorced father of four, said that his many votes against gay rights were efforts to represent the conservative views of his constituents.
Good for him on the admission. As for his reason for voting against gay rights — “I’m thinking of my constituents” — well, to thine own self be true. I’ve never bought the argument that an elected representative is merely a conduit for his or her constituency, and it’s a cop-out to throw up your hands and say, “Hey, I’m just doing what I’m told.” An elected representative has an obligation to use their judgment and insight to both their constituency and themselves as well as knowing what’s best for the greater good of both their district and the country at large. Besides, being gay is apolitical: obviously conservatives as well as liberals are members of the LGBTQI community, and I daresay that he represents a fair number in his nice little Southern California Pleasantville.
I can understand all too well his inability to face the truth: it’s not easy to come out of the closet at any age because of the social stigma placed on being openly gay, especially when it’s reinforced by elected officials who engage in gay-bashing to assuage their own self-loathing and for electoral gain. Admitting it to yourself and the people who care is the first step. And if he’s going to be truly honest with his constituents and his family, he has some apologies to make; not for being gay, but for his lack of honesty to them and to himself.