A politician comes out (under fire) - what do you think?

This little drama has been playing itself out since last Thursday or so in California. Short version: Republican state senator Roy Ashburn was caught DUI after (probably) leaving a gay bar, plenty of corroborating witness at said bar saying that he’s a regular, etc. His voting record is strongly against expanding gay rights, in fact one gay rights organization rates his voting record at 0%.

Over the weekend, he came out on radio. Some of the things he said:

So, I’m seeing a couple of things out of the ordinary: not denying that he’s gay; not spending most of his energy apologizing to his family (at least that wasn’t reported); and standing by his voting record because it’s what his constituents want (or so he thinks).

I think it’s the last part that bothers me, as it is still hypocrisy, but phrased in a way that could engender sympathy (see comments on linked page for some examples).

Specifically: if he had been open about being gay, would he have been elected in that district? (Probably not.) So what he is admitting to, in effect, is pretending to be someone else in order to get elected, and after being elected, continuing to pretend to be that other person in order to stay in office. He doesn’t say what his own opinions are about gay rights, only that he is voting the way (he thinks) his constituents want.

Although marginally more forthright than the US senator in the airport bathroom, I don’t think this guy is any better, and maybe worse. What do you think?

Well, if you held a gun to my head and asked me which was worse: a politician coming out as gay or a politician caught driving at twice the legal limit…hmm…can I phone a friend?

Seriously, as I said in the other thread about this, it’s the hypocracy that’s the most galling here. If we accept his response here at face value -which I don’t - then we have to assume that he’s willing to lie to his constituents and his family about who he really is just to get elected, and he’s willing to vote against granting increased civil rights to both his gay constituents and himself ONE HUNDRED PERCENT OF THE TIME, because he feared that even one vote favoring gays would so enrage his constituency he’d lose his seat.

What is this about a politician lying to get elected?

I think it’s greatly oversimplifying to say that being afraid to come out of the closet constitutes ‘lying’. With that said, it does bother me that someone would work hard to perpetuate the struggle of gays and lesbians in society when he understands that struggle so well himself. I’m beginning to think more and more that homophobia is really just the projected fear that oneself is gay.

Gay doesn’t matter to me. The DUI deserves jail time.

What’s particularly struck me is a quote from this article:

For the life of me, I can’t think myself into the mindset of someone who could say that. For that matter, I can’t imagine a gay man associating himself with someone who could say that, never mind agreeing with him.

No bloody wonder he took to drink.

I totally understand that, in certain circumstances, coming out can be a truly traumatic experience, and for some people it can take decades, or even never happen at all. And I am totally opposed to outing people against their will; it has to be their own decision.

That being said, I have no sympathy toward people who spend their lives getting the benefits of “down low” sex, while publicly shitting on the gay community. The only thing about him that would gain my respect would be if he begins undoing the damage he’s been doing all these years . . . embrace his sexuality and work openly as a pro-gay politician.

I’m not holding my breath.

I think he is a sad excuse for a human being who is trying to justify his actions as just. If he had simply voted against gay rights bills I would buy that he was simply representing his constituents. He didn’t just vote against gay rights he championed anti-gay rights issues. He went out of his way to convince others to vote against gay rights. He campaigned on preventing gays from having equal rights. Now he’s going to pretend like he was just representing his constituents? Bullshit. After he apologizes for his past record I’ll cut him some slack.

He is a liar and a hypocrite. He used gay rights as a wedge issue to further his own career. After being exposed as a hypocrite his plan is to keep lying and hope for sympathy. He is filth to me.

This is another story that reinforces my firm belief that when anyone gets THAT worked up about gays, spouting hatred, etc (I can understand some discomfort with the unknown, mind you)–that they are gayer than Gay Gayerson and so afraid and full of self-loathing that I almost pity them.

Except for the fact that they are actively hurting people. For that I loathe them.

If it’s a politician who’s been supporting laws that would make his own actions illegal for other people, then I say he deserves all the condemnation he receives.

It would save us all a lot of time if we simply assumed that all anti-gay politicians and religious leaders are secretly gay.

He is a politician. Being a politician comes before being gay, before being a father and husband, before everything else. He is an attention loving, media hugging, “look at me, look at me” shouting child, who just happens to be gay. I sort of feel a little sorry for him because of his conflicts but then he hasn’t been rabidly trying to vote away my rights.

Makes me wonder. Do people choose to become politicians or are they born that way? I mean, if its a choice then maybe there are organizations that can help cure them. Maybe some legislation will force them to stop their disgusting activities? Granted, I don’t see many politicians in my daily life but just the thought of the icky stuff they do behind closed doors is … well, I can’t think about it. I just want them to stop.

He’s Human.

He hated what he was and didn’t want to be that way, so he actively worked against that cause in order to prove to himself that he wasn’t what he hated about himself.

Now he’s been forced to admit that it is true after all.

Hopefully now will come some healing, and in time, he will learn that what he hated about himself isn’t something to be ashamed of or afraid of. And then hopefully, in time, will come the realization that his past persecution of others for the same reasons was WRONG, and that he should start trying to undo the harm he did.

I’d guess he’s in for a life lesson, (one he’s been asking for, no doubt), about how unfair it is to lose your job because of your sexual preference.

And it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy, in my opinion.

Please tell me he’s a Christian fundamentalist belonging to a gay hating congregation!

And that he has sons, spoon fed anti gay venom since they were children!

The thing you have to remember is that politicans represent their districts not their own personal beliefs. At least that’s how I feel they should vote.

Most of us, if not all of us, do a lot of hypocritical things in our jobs, if not unethical or downright illegal.

I find it hard to believe any politican could go into a gay bar, in these days of camera phones, he could keep that a secret.

Roman Catholic, four daughters.

If only we lived in a world where people were proud to be gay and ashamed to be Republicans.

Time will tell, but I am not holding my breath. My prediction is that he will probably stop going to gay bars and having assignations and trysts (two of my favorite words) for a while, until the heat dies down. When he dives back into the pool he will be more discreet. In public he will not change his attitudes but will be more rabidly anti-gay than ever, to “prove” to his family, friends, colleagues and constituents that he has chosen a better path.

No they don’t. I don’t, I don’t know anyone who does. And I work with a lot of salespeople. I find your statement creepy.

Could we change “Republicans” to “bigoted hypocrites”? They are not actually synonymous, after all.

WTF? No, no, and definitely not. Where the hell do you work that makes you think “most of us” have jobs that have us doing things that are unethical or illegal?

From the thread about this in IMHO:
The new gay stereotype