by Rex Wockner -
SGN Contributing Writer
Anti-Gay California senator arrested, outed
An anti-Gay California state senator who has been a 'traditional values' activist was arrested on suspicion of driving drunk in Sacramento on March 3 and subsequently outed.
Sen. Roy Ashburn, R-Bakersfield, had a blood-alcohol level nearly double the legal limit when the California Highway Patrol pulled him over around 2 a.m. after he left a Gay bar, multiple news reports said.
An unidentified male passenger was with him in the car.
Ashburn's voting record on Gay issues in the Legislature is essentially "zero," said Equality California Executive Director Geoff Kors.
Ashburn voted against Gays at least 30 times, Kors said, based on preliminary research. He cast at least one vote considered by some to be Gay-friendly, Kors said. That bill, which became law, requires California registered domestic partners to file their state income tax returns as if they were a married couple.
In 2005, Ashburn, who is divorced and has four children, co-hosted a "traditional values" rally in support of amending the state constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman. The proposed amendment's language also likely would have nullified the state's domestic-partnership law.
Ashburn also opposed the state's proclamation of Harvey Milk Day, state laws that ban discrimination based on sexual orientation, a resolution supporting repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," and a variety of other measures supportive of Gay people. He reportedly supported Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot measure via which voters amended the state constitution to repeal Gays' right to marry.
The openly Gay mayor of West Sacramento, Christopher Cabaldon, told reporters he has seen Ashburn in Gay bars several times. Cabaldon even mentioned it on his Facebook page several months ago, though nothing came of it.
"It wouldn't bother me so bad to see Roy Ashburn at Badlands with a boy if he didn't have such a bad voting record on Gay rights," Cabaldon reportedly wrote on the social-networking website.
Cabaldon said he also has seen Ashburn at the Gay bar the Depot.
"You just can't live a double life in politics anymore," Cabaldon told KOVR-TV. "To live a secret life and at the same time be attacking exactly the people who you're one of, but that you're too ashamed to admit, that's the hypocrisy that I think for folks - whether you're Gay or not, it's just unacceptable in politics."
Kors called it "extremely hypocritical for Sen. Ashburn, by patronizing a Gay club, to be enjoying the fundamental rights and freedoms of association that others have fought so hard for but that he himself has repeatedly voted against."
Ashburn reportedly has taken a leave of absence from the Senate and apparently has not responded publicly to being outed.
This publication cannot independently confirm Ashburn's sexual orientation but the San Francisco Chronicle reported, "Capitol staffers say it is an open secret that Ashburn frequently visits Sacramento's Gay establishments."
Last year, the Bakersfield Californian newspaper asked Ashburn if he's Gay. He replied: "Why would that be anyone's business? Including the Californian's? 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."
With assistance from Bill Kelley
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