Republican Sen. Roy Ashburn, who has been on leave from the Senate since his DUI arrest last week, confirmed on Monday that he is in fact gay, following reports that Ashburn was leaving a gay club before he was arrested. While this is certainly not the first time that a political official has been outed through a widely-covered scandal, Ashburn's announcement is drawing significant media attention because the Bakersfield Republican has consistently voting against gay rights measures. The Sacramento Bee's Torey Van Oot reports that Ashburn defended his votes on the grounds that they "were a reflection of how the majority of voters in his conservative district would have wanted him to vote."
The Ashburn affair is sending ripples throughout the blogosphere. While conservatives remain relatively silent, liberals are incensed by the hypocrisy:
- At Least He's Not Trying To Save Face Josh Marshall gives Ashburn a thumbs up for taking responsibility for the debacle: "The history of gay politicians fighting as tribunes of homophobia and prejudice is so long and twisted and sad and awful that I don't really think I'm in any position to judge. But I'll give credit to state Senator Roy Ashburn (R-Bakersfield), the anti-gay rights Republican who got picked up last week on a DUI after leaving a gay nightspot in Sacramento, for not pulling a Craig or a Haggard."
- How Depressing At Mother Jones, Nikki Gloudeman's anger is tempered by sadness: "Ashburn came out after an arrest last week for driving drunk on the way back from a gay bar in Sacramento. Following the admission, he stated, "Those are the words that have been so difficult for me for so long." Infuriating hypocrisy. But also kind of sad."
- No Excuse Richard Lawson at Gawker lays on the sarcasm in response Ashburn's claim that he was simply representing his constituents: "Oh that's all! He was representing his constituents, guys. Just doing his job. Good for him. Good for all of us."
- WOW Wonkette's Ken Layne lets his CAPS-lock to all the talking: "MESSAGE TO CLOSETED REPUBLICANS: Honestly, nobody cares if you’re gay. It’s 2010, everybody is gay, and you’re going to lose the next election to a freakin’ Teabagger anyways, so ‘fess up and have fun ... AND DON’T HOLD RALLIES AGAINST GAY MARRIAGE"
- Does This Really Matter? Suzanne Venker at RightPundits.com doesn't understand what all the fuss is about:
This is the basic assumption regarding gay rights (or any rights) by people on the left: that if you are gay, you must be in favor of gay rights. In one of my articles for Newsreal, I point out just the opposite. “It may surprise Hollywood to know that many gay people do not need defending. Not all gay people want to be married, and not all gay people think gay marriage should be legal. What does this make them? A traitor to their cause?” I don’t think so. ... You can absolutely be gay and not support gay rights.