Mar 8, 2010

Sen. Ashburn says he's gay

State Sen. Ray Ashburn, R-Bakersfield, told a conservative radio host today that he is gay. The Sacramento Bee reports:

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.

Earlier, the Bee reported that Ashburn was already in trouble with conservatives over a budget vote that included tax increases:

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."

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