I’m always surprised at how many fiercely anti-gay politicians are not only gay themselves (that doesn’t surprise me at all) but living at least relatively open gay lives without news of their sexuality becoming public until some fortuitous event brings it to light. Yesterday I noted the case of California state Senator Roy Ashburn, a big supporter of Prop 8 and long-time opponent of gay rights, who was picked up early Wednesday morning on a DUI after leaving a gay nightclub in Sacramento with an unnamed man. It turns out that Ashburn has apparently been a regular at Sacramento gay night spots for years. That’s according to the openly gay Mayor of West Sacramento, Christopher Cabaldon.
Just as with the cases of Larry Craig, Bob Allen and so many others, I cannot deny a certain sense of justice in the exposure of these men for the damage they’ve done by fanning the fires of homophobia and anti-gay hatred in their public lives. But as Andrew Sullivan puts it, these are all examples of their tragedy of the closet. Not just the inability to live full lives and all the self-loathing that’s painfully obvious in these men, but the soul-crushing and character-distorting effects of a life of denial and toxic secrecy.
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.