Commentary: Ashburn's sexual orientation doesn't matter

The past year has been a wild ride for longtime Republican lawmaker Roy Ashburn.

Not only did Ashburn vote for tax increases — thus helping end a protracted state budget battle — but Monday morning he revealed to conservative radio talk-show host Inga Barks that he is gay.

With this record, Ashburn might as well announce he's a Democrat, too.

I kid, and I shouldn't.

Ashburn should be commended for bolting party lines and voting to approve a budget that cut billions of dollars and included pro-business incentives he favors such as tax credits for new-home buyers.

Ashburn's sexual orientation shouldn't matter.

But the reality is that he wouldn't have won eight straight elections — from county supervisor to the state Senate — in conservative Bakersfield as an openly gay Republican.

And so Ashburn was trapped from the start, living a lie because his political survival depended on it.

Yes, there are Log Cabin Republicans.

To read the complete column, visit www.fresnobee.com.