California State Senator Roy Ashburn
came out as gay in a radio interview Monday morning, the San
Francisco Chronicle reported.
Ashburn's sexuality came under close
scrutiny last week after the Republican lawmaker was arrested on
suspicion of drunk driving after leaving a gay nightclub in
“I am gay,” Ashburn confirmed to
Banks in an interview broadcast on KERN radio Monday.
“And so, those are the words that
have been so difficult for me for so long,” he added.
After being freed on a $1,400 bond,
Ashburn issued an apology, then went into seclusion.
Ashburn's apology, however, did not
include any reference to his sexual orientation: “I am deeply sorry
for my actions and offer no excuse for my poor judgment. I accept
complete responsibility for my conduct and am prepared to accept the
consequences for what I did.”
Following Wednesday's arrest, many gay
activists called the 55-year-old politician a hypocrite for his
staunch record of opposing gay rights, which includes voting against
gay marriage, rights for transgender people and recognition of Harvey Milk Day,
in memory of San Francisco's first openly gay politician.
“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, is just unacceptable in
politics,” openly gay West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon
told local CBS
affiliate CBS13 on Thursday.
Last year, Cabaldon wrote on his
Facebook page: “It wouldn't bother me so bad to see Roy Ashburn at
[gay bar] Badlands with a boy if he didn't have such a bad voting
record on gay rights.”
Ashburn, a single father of four,
defended his voting record, saying he cast votes that his
“I felt my duty, and I still feel
this way, is to represent my constituents,” he said.
The senator said he will return to work