Earlier, the Bee reported that Ashburn was already in trouble with conservatives over a budget vote that included tax increases:
Ashburn's announcement follows reports that Ashburn was leaving a gay club before he was arrested for driving under the influence last week.
The Bakersfield Republican, who has consistently voted against gay-rights measures, said his votes were a reflection of how the majority of voters in his conservative district would have wanted him to vote.
State GOP activist Jon Fleischman, who runs the conservative Flash Report Web site, said Ashburn's career in politics was already damaged because he angered GOP loyalists by voting for a tax increase last year.
"That puts you in a coffin," Fleischman said. If Ashburn is gay, he said, "it's like hammering nails into it."