In what amounts to a political epitaph, state Sen. Roy Ashburn (R-Bakersfield) admitted what much of the Sacramento establishment has known for a while now.
Republican Sen. Roy Ashburn, who has been on leave from the Senate since his DUI arrest last week, confirmed today that he is gay.
“I’m gay,” Ashburn told KERN radio host Inga Barks in an interview this morning. “Those are the words that have been so difficult for me for so long.”
The closet is a soul-crushing, debilitating place to be. It rips you apart, and eventually, you will do something stupid. When you try to hide something so important to who you are, it will eventually consume you. And, to be clear, this is most assuredly about more than just sex, it is about who you love, who you want to share the rest of your life with, and who you are.
The closet cracks in more or less dramatic fashion. For Ashburn, it was more dramatic because of his history of support for anti-gay causes. For people like Bill Postmus, the damage can lead to self-medicating with drugs or self-destructive behaviors. But in the end, the closet will always take its toll. It will always win; control your life in some way or another. You simply can’t control your life if you are trying to hide who you are.
Ashburn tries to cover for his hypocrisy by pointing out that his constituents would want it that way. But constituents don’t elect a set of political positions, when they are voting on candidates, they are choosing a person. A person with failures and faults, and a sense of morality. Ashburn was so busy trying to hide who he was that he forgot to mind his conscience and whatever sense of morality to which he subscribes.
Time will move on, and Bakersfield will likely elect another anti-gay Senator come November. Ashburn will end his political career in disgrace and shuffle off to play the Sacramento third house games in some way. But, he will do so as an openly gay man. And he will soon discover that telling the truth means more than the ability to go to a gay bar in peace, but also a sense of liberty that you just don’t have in a stifling closet.