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Posts for May, 2010

The Closet Is the Enemy

Jim Burroway

May 27th, 2010

California State Sen. Roy Ashburn (R-Bakersfield) was outed earlier this year following his DUI arrest after leaving a Sacramento gay bar. At that time, he was a reliable vote against pro-gay causes. Now that he’s out of the closet, his voting record is starting to change accordingly:

Ashburn was the only Republican senator to vote in support of allowing openly gay people to serve in the military, but he also voted against a bill that could remove a political obstacle to proposals to legalize same-sex marriage.

Ashburn then took the unusual step of publicly explaining his votes on the Senate floor.

“I would not have been speaking on a measure dealing with sexual orientation ever prior to the events that have transpired in my life over the last three months,” Ashburn told his colleagues. “However, I am no longer willing or able to remain silent on issues that affect sexual orientation and the rights of individuals. And so I am doing something that is quite different and foreign to me, and it’s highly emotional.”

The bill Ashburn opposed, SB 906, passed the state Senate and clarifies that clergy members would not be required to perform a civil marriage that was contrary to his or her faith. This removes one objection by marriage equality opponents who (Wrongly) claimed that clergy would be forced to perform same-sex marriages. Ashburn’s objections was essentially over a technicality:

But he said it was “troublesome” that the bill also described marriages as “civil” unions. Proposition 8, approved by voters, gave a definition of marriage, and Ashburn worried the new definition in the bill could muddy the water and lead to new lawsuits on the issue.

Randy Thomasson: “no such thing as gay”

Timothy Kincaid

March 9th, 2010

thomassonI love anti-gay activist Randy Thomasson. He makes our work so much easier and he is always worth a chuckle. Remember when the campaign for Proposition 8 called him “extreme” and sued him to make him go away?

Thomasson, currently of SaveCalifornia.com, always has opinions. So, of course, he has some thoughts about newly-out-but-still-anti-gay drunk-driver Roy Ashburn. Not surprisingly, Ashburn is now a bad bad man. But that’s not all, he’s also mistaken.

Now he’s completely “out.” Monday morning on the radio, Republican State Senator Roy Ashburn of Bakersfield said “I’m gay.”

But Roy Ashburn is mistaken. No one is “gay” because the so-called “gay gene” does not exist.

Oh, Thomasson, you funny fellow. Without a gay folk to battle (for donations, of course) you’d starve to death.

I’m guessing that the “amusingly irrational gene” exists in your family in abundance.

CA State GOP Rep Comes Out, Defends Anti-Gay Record

Jim Burroway

March 8th, 2010

CA Rep. Roy AshburnCalifornia State Sen. Roy Ashburn, the conservative Republican who was arrested last week for driving while intoxicated after having left a Sacramento gay bar, came out as gay today on a Bakersfield radio station talk show. Asburn, who has a solidly anti-gay voting record however, continued to defend his record:

“I am gay. 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,” Ashburn said.

…Radio talk show host Inga Barks wanted assurances that Ashburn would continue to vote in a conservative manner on LGBT rights issues. Ashburn responded, “I believe firmly that my responsibility is to my constituents. I will take a careful look at each measure and apply that standard. How would they vote on this? How would they want me to vote on this,” adding that most people understood what that means.

Another Anti-Gay Lawmaker Outed

Jim Burroway

March 4th, 2010
Roy Ashburn's booking photo from the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department.

Roy Ashburn's booking photo from the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department.

California state Sen. Roy Ashburn (R-18), whose rural district surrounding Bakersfield represents the state’s heartland of social conservatism, is married, a father of four, and proud of his consistently anti-gay positions. He was also seen late last night at Faces, a gay bar in Sacramento, just before he was arrested for DUI. There was another man in the car with him at the time of his arrest. And for most of that — he hasn’t acknowledged his presence at Faces yet — he is deeply, deeply sorry.

KOVR Channel 13 in Sacramento is perhaps the only mainstream media (at least that I’ve found so far) reporting on the gay angle and tying it to the other man who was present in Ashburn’s car when Ashburn was arrested. I don’t know if it was intentional or not, but Democratic strategist Steve Mavigio said that Ashburn should “come out” and “apologize to his constituents and the people of California for what he’s done.”

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