But How Did He Vote on Drunk Driving Legislation?


Last week California state Sen. Roy Ashburn, a Republican who represents Bakersfield, was nabbed for driving under the influence after leaving a gay nightclub in Sacramento. In a Monday morning radio interview, he admitted he is gay. The revelation provoked accusations of hypocrisy in light of what the Daily Mail calls Ashburn's "anti-gay" record. But I'm not sure that charge fits. The strongest evidence seems to be that Ashburn voted against gay marriage, which suggests he supported at least one form of official discrimination based on sexual orientation. But Ashburn, a divorced father of four, did not then turn around and try to marry a man. He had sex with men, which is not something he ever tried to prohibit. His resistance to gay marriage puts him in the same company as most Americans and many Democratic politicians, including the president, and it is not necessarily inconsistent with his sexual behavior. It is even less damning that he opposed "a Senate resolution declaring Proposition 8 unconstitutional," since the argument that a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage was itself unconstitutional always seemed shaky and was in fact rejected in a 6-to-1 ruling by the California Supreme Court (the same court that, prior to Prop. 8, had declared the statutory ban on gay marriage unconstitutional).

Likewise, Ashburn's vote against Harvey Milk Day was not necessarily "anti-gay"; nor was his opposition to "gay-rights legislation," if by that the Los Angeles Times means laws banning private discrimination against homosexuals (just as opposition to bans on private discrimination against blacks or Jews does not make a legislator racist or anti-Semitic). Ashburn says his votes comported with the views of his constituents, which suggests they may not have reflected his own true opinions. But I don't see anything in the press coverage about him railing against homosexuality, demanding the closing of gay nightclubs, or taking any other positions that were inconsistent with his own private behavior. If I'm missing some aspect of Ashburn's record  that really clinches the hypocrisy charge (a vote to ban gay adoption, for example), please let me know.

[Thanks to Sam Rosenstein for the tip.]

NEXT: Gracias, Sean!

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  1. I’m stuck on “a divorced father of four”. Adopted? Made them himself? Is he therefore actually bi? I just wonder.

    I don’t understand what that would be like – “I’ll have sex with a female….and now I’ll have sex w/a male instead. [Apparently] I’m done with women now.”

    It’s all good – don’t care, fine. But I just am trying to visualize how that happens. Can’t.

    Huh…people are interesting.

    1. ..and the whole “is he a hypocrite or not” – wow, that’s another interesting one. Me – I say, “Yeah, a little bit.”

      Again – his constituency can decide if any of this matters in terms of his job performance or not. But man – people are interesting….

    2. If we strip it all down there are probably very few true “gay” or “straight” people. Until the 19th Century gay was something you did, not something you were. The fact that there are social benefits to a “gay” person exploring heterosexual sex and not vice versa probably accounts for the higher incidence of seemingly straight people “turning gay” and not vice versa (the social benefits of living a straight lifestyle eventually become overwhelmed by one’s greater preference.)

    3. A good amount of gay men marry women knowing full well they are mostly or only attracted to men. It’s a hard thing to admit to yourself (lots of early denial usually) not to mention others, and usuaully because people don’t want to face the anti-gay social consequences … that and a heck of a lot of them think they will just change over time.

      It’s fear, basically. And for how many people seem entirely opposed to gay couples, it’s probably more rare to find one who would be comfortable with a gay man marrying their daughter …

      1. So that reply was a bit fast, and from my phone … which often causes me to loose my train of thought, but I just wanted to make a clarification or two. First, I didn’t mean to imply that these gay men are intentionally trying to trick women or anything. It’s shocking how long and complete total self denial of ones intrests and even behavior can occur, especially in conservitive areas. Secondly, my last comment was more about a sort of hypocritical tradeoff I often see. A gay guy marrying a woman rarely works well for anyone involved, and even the homophobes know that, but then they go on to pressure society to promote that very thing. Gay people DO exist, and it’s not like they are just going to vanish if you demean them.

        1. bEErCUB, yer not amiss, we bEErHUG you and wonder where ya been.

    4. He’s always been nice to me.

      1. I was gonna say the same thing

  2. I don’t see anything in the press coverage about him railing against homosexuality, demanding the closing of gay nightclubs, or taking any other positions that were inconsistent with his own private behavior.

    Details, details. Burn him!

  3. He did throw his face and name (and appearance) to an anti-gay-marriage rally by the Traditional Values Coalition in Bakersfield.

    Even more damning, he went against his conservative constituents as one of only six GOP folks to vote in favor of a state tax hike last year, prompting a failed effort at a recall. (This is what has effectively killed his career — not the gay thing)

    So like most politicians, he picks and chooses. I’ve never seen him actually campaign on anti-gay issues, but I’m down here in Barstow, the southern edge of his district, and have very little interaction with him. (I’ve met the guy and interviewed him several times and he never even set off my gaydar)

    The outrage is a bit overheated (I say as a gay libertarian). Nobody on the left would even know who he was if not for this incident. He is by no means a major name.

    And yeah, I would have voted against the Milk thing too, just because it’s stupid.

  4. It actually isn’t unheard of for some gays to be against gay marriage. By one line of reasoning, the whole point of being gay is railing against the standard “one man, one woman” paradigm by having as many partners as they want, or by not limiting themselves to just the one. I disagree with that notion, but he’s not alone, at the least.

    As for the ex-wife and child, that happens too. There is a difference between having sex with a woman and being straight. Most likely he was in some sort of denial. And what better way is there to deny being gay than marrying/having sex with a woman?

    1. justin raimondo, for example.

  5. Ashburn voted against gay marriage, which suggests he supported at least one form of official discrimination based on sexual orientation.

    Or maybe he’s against the state being involved in the marriage process at all.

    1. Maybe but I doubt it. Chances are it seemed like a good position to take to get elected and since he had already had a bad marriage experience he didn’t want to inflict it on his fellow LGBT community members.

    2. Yeah, and he made this vote on a unicorn.

      Besides, what a bigoted way to express your disapproval of the state being involved in marriage: opposing extending to one small group of citizens the thing you hate which of course will still be available to all others.

      It’s like expressing your disapproval of publicly funded roads by voting for a bill to ban gays from driving on them.

      1. Hello Shit Facktory!


        1. Gobby, gobby!

          This thread is about GAY sex gobby.

          Me and your mom are one thing, but I’ve never laid even eyes on your pop (that may make two of us, right?). So chill.

          1. Save the bastard jokes for a John Edwards thread.

      2. If he was divorced, maybe he’s trying to prevent gay folk from having to deal with the onerous laws that constitute family/divorce court. I’ve never asked someone who was for gay marriage, what they imagine the details would be, just scoop gay people into all the existing marriage laws, or what. I don’t know about you, but to me that’s a very scary thing. I am gay, but have no real stomach for gay marriage. The big legal and medical stuff can be done with legal filing, so a lot of my sympathy falls apart right there.

        Frankly, I’m not interested in our current marriage laws applying to me. I don’t think this guy is a bigot.

    3. No he definitely wasn’t arguing the libertarian line on social issues. He’s very much a “big government” conservative as far as I can tell. Better on business issues, though it’s pretty easy to be better on business issues in California than the Democrats.

      He wanted to get rid of term limits, too (he’s termed out of the state legislature after this year)

  6. i know plenty of gay people opposed to gay marriage.

    1. And I’m sure you could find black folks who thought Martin Luther King was pushing things too far…

      Look, just change the facts slightly: a black candidate passing as white voting to deny blacks the right to marry. Well, you know, it’s no biggee because he didn’t ever say he wanted to get married!


      1. Incredible. Fail.

        1. I’m sorry, but on the planet I live on just yelling “FAIL” doesn’t have the same weight as making an argument. If you think my analogy inapt, by all means use that typing instrument in front of you to express your argumet, if one ye have…

          1. There is no justice – there’s just us, my brother. Fight the power!

        2. Yeah! What I said below! Nyah nyah nyah! You should spend time arguing with me, although that makes as much sense as arguing with a bot! Cause I don’t really argue, I just write a lot of words!


          1. Interesting how impotent right wing rage addles the mind, and not in the good way…

            1. “impotent right wing rage” Delicious choice of words.

      2. Gay is the new black!

        1. Although this news hasn’t reached everyone.

          For instance, a majority of black people in California voted for Proposition 8.

        2. Is the analogy inapt Max?

          1. The assumption that gay=black certainly needs some defense.

            Do you assert the existence of a gay gene? Well, what about a man who is born blind due to a genetic condition – should the government issue him a driver’s license in the name of non-discrimination, because after all it’s not *his* fault he’s blind?

            1. The whole gay=black meme rests on the same assumption: a man’s skin color or sexual orientation is irrelevant to his rights and privileges. So your “blind driver” analogy fails.

              Try again.

              1. I observe that you’re not trying to show *why* gay=black.

                Nor do you offer a definition of ‘sexual orientation’ or ‘rights and privileges.’

                Would ‘rights and privileges’ include the right to invoke the power of the law against *private* discrimination?

                1. Oh no Max, I’ve got you. It’s coming in steps even you can understand.

                  They used to say blacks should not be able to marry whites because they thought skin color was relevant to such a decision. They were, or course, wrong.

                  Likewise they now say gay persons should not be able to marry persons of the same sex because they think sexual orientation is relevant to such a decision. You are of course, wrong.

                  But free to argue otherwise!

                  Just so you don’t miss it for a SECOND time let me be clear: just as the skin color of the participants is irrelevant as to who can marry, so is the gender of the participants. Argue otherwise if ye can.

                  1. You’re shifting ground.

                    First you said ‘sexual orientation’ was the relevant characteristic, then you said ‘gender.’ You claim to be making the same argument each time – how is gender equivalent to sexual orientation?

                    And you still haven’t defined ‘sexual orientation’ or ‘rights and privileges.’

                    For that matter, you haven’t defined ‘they’: ‘They used to say blacks should not be able to marry whites . . . Likewise they now say gay persons [etc.]’ Who is this sinister ‘they’ who opposed interracial marriage and then came back later to oppose same-sex marriage? You’re claiming it’s the same group of opponents.

                    1. Haha, nice try. “They” is just important for the analogy, indictating the same faulty argument animates both opposing forces.

                      Sexual orientation (in so far as it means a proclivity for same sex adults) and gender are as equally irrelevant to the marriage decision as skin color.

                      Like I said, if you find otherwise produce your arguments.

                    2. So ‘they’ = ‘people with whom I disagree.’ Fair enough. That certainly covers a lot of ground.

                      Still no definition of ‘rights and privileges’ – I would love to hear your explanation of why that term includes (or does not include) the right to have the government override the policies of a private employer.

                      Now you’ve defined ‘sexual orientation’ means ‘a proclivity for same sex adults.’ This definition includes coveting your neighbor’s wife, a ‘preference’ which still encounters at least *some* disfavor from the law. Want to try for another definition, or would you like to go to the mat in defense of adultery?

                    3. No Max, “they” are people like you making arguments concerning gays and why their orientation or gender should bar their marriage and bigots in the past concerning blacks and why their color should bar them from certain marriages.

                      This is the third time up and you still haven’t tried to put forward anything even resembling an argument as to why gender or sexual orientation should bar marriage.

                      You make a cute implication that gays may be like adulterers. While the latter might be thought of as relevant to marriage the former is not, in the same way that skin color is, and that has been my point all along, and the one you cannot seem to meet. And of course I don’t think adulterers should be denied marriage. Do you?

                      For the last time the “meme” that gay=black rests on the fact that in both cases irrelevant characteristics (gender/skin color) are used to try to bar the exercise of certain rights.

                  2. Yep, you got him all right in the sense that Mad Max is a bigot and that I entirely am at odds with that segment of M&M’s worldview.

                    Mad Max, what the fuck is a black? How do you measure that? What is your level of ‘black’ esteem in order:

                    1) a Bougainville islander
                    2) a Hottentot
                    3) a Dravidian
                    4) a Pygmy
                    5) a Mexican from Veracruz with kinky hair
                    6) a certain Supreme Court Justice of the United States
                    7) a certain ‘articulate Negro’ President of the United States
                    8) a Fijian who is not Indo-Fijian
                    9) an ancient Pharaoh of Eypt
                    10)a minstrel in blackface

                    gimme a break! You’re the one with the Einstein equation. You show how black=gay. If you’re for individual rights, you my friend have failed.

                    1. What Einstein equation are you referring to?

                    2. 7:41 PM

                      Gay is the new black!

                      That is what I am referring to as the Einsteinian equation. Please elaborate on it.

                    3. I was referring to the ‘meme’ (as MNG elegantly called it) that equates discrimination against black people with discrimination against gays.

                      I was using a technique known as sarcasm to mock that particular meme.

                    4. One drop rule: One drop of another guy’s semen and you are GAY!!!.

                  3. I like to bang middle school girls. They say I can’t marry them. They’re wrong.

                    My buddy likes blow up dolls and doesn’t have time for a real partner because of this high paying professional job. He really wants the “married filing jointly” exception, but they told him he can’t marry. Wrong, huh?

                    Not saying gays shouldn’t marry. Just wondering how far you’re going to carry that analogy. Or how far you can go before “marry” is no longer a meaningful term.

        1. I will disagree along with you but see MNG’s point on this one. Yes, there are gay’s in denial and therefore trying to ‘beard up’; however, as a libertarian, I understand that there can be honest and to me more intellectually valid dissension to falling-into-place validation of group mentality. It is the assertion of our basic humanity trumping our ethnicity, sexual-proclivity, political persuasion, etc.

          So MNG, no one isn’t a ‘traitor’ if he/she is gay but against ‘gay rights’.

          I will caveat that if you simply mean ‘gays’ being treated fully under equal protection i.e. no one can deny you your rights by dismissing you as gay vis-a-vis the state owes you extra shit because you profess to be gay.

      3. Look, just change the facts slightly: a black candidate passing as white voting to deny blacks the right to marry.

        That’s not a good parallel. You’re comparing a vote to strip people of a right they currently possess, to a vote against granting people a right they have never possessed.

        Taking the former action strongly suggests hostility to the group in question. But the latter action would be unsurprising for anyone who is resistant to change.

        1. Oh Dan, how easy this is.

          OK, change it to a vote to allow interracial marriage pre-Loving.

          Now what smart guy?

        2. I’m with MNG. Just because a natural right has been denied for however long doesn’t mean it ain’t natural. Slavery was and always will be a despicable abomination.

    2. No, you don’t. I know hundreds of gays and some may not want to marry, but not one of them is opposed to gay marriage for those who want it.
      That is self hatred and people who are out are usually free of that particular stigma.
      Next thing you’ll say is you have black friends who are for slavery

      1. Well, shit, if you know HUNDREDS of gays, then the science is settled.

        And suggesting that some gays don’t support gay marriage (it’s truuuuuue…well, among some of the

        1. …less than 100 gay people I know) is definitely the equivalent of blacks supporting slavery.

          Brilliantly argued.

          [sorry for the 1/2 post…nobdy is perfick]

          1. Help an H&R old timer out here, who is Almanian (I mean other than a dumbass)? Is this some regular like JW or MJ under a new name because they’ve read some book from the Friends of the Library sale and saw a character named Almanian?

            1. To help you out MNG, most people don’t deal with many self-professed gays. If you are fortunate, as I was, the first such gay man was a dear family friend. As a young boy, I was neither molested nor felt bad vibes from him. He was my friend too.

              Who cares what someone’s alias is? State your case and be done. Let’s assume Almanian is an Armenian-American from Fresno, CA who had no gay role-models. Given society’s negative view of homosexuality, he is more likely to be a Republican or Democrat. Why not ask him why he’s trolling around a libertarian site?

              1. Sorry jester, it was for purely personal curiosity. Alamanian has just appeared spouting the same tired right wing rhetoric as some of the guys I mentioned, so I asked. You’re right, it doesn’t matter.

                1. Hardly right wing, certainly not Dem or Repub. Been posting at Reason for some time.

                  And of course I couldn’t possibly have any gay friends – Norman’s taken them all, apparently.

                  I’m sure we’ll meet again on the site. Have a nice evening.

                  1. And in your defense…the reductio ad… I hate gays and that makes me a homophobe…is unfounded.

                    Looking back at the thread I see that MNG made the slavery/gay marriage litmus test and that wasn’t intellectually honest.

    3. Good for you. Now fuck off!

  7. Honestly, he isn’t worth defending until or unless he comes out as a closet libertarian.

    I can’t nor can you read his mind. I agree that some that argue for group rights vs. individual rights have ‘exploited’ this case, but that is so commonplace as to seem as ridiculous as caring what Sean Penn thinks about Hugo Chavez.

  8. Let’s get this straight(pun intended). He married, had four kids with her, and then noticed he was gay? He fucks men but then voted against gay marriage. He just needs to the courage to follow his dick with his votes.

    1. Why is it so difficult for folks to understand that gay men get married and have kids to prove themselves against other peoples ‘gaydar’?

      There is, but thankfully less, of a huge stigma attached to being gay. Why isn’t it surprising that the midlife crisis hits gay men, but in an obviously different way.

      He didn’t suddenly notice he was gay. He just kept it surpressed for a long time until he hit a breaking point.

      Unfortunately, his political career followed the path of his marriage and parental cover-up.

      Let’s just hope that his hood-winked wife doesn’t turn into a future phony like Ms. Huffington, a gal who still clings to the surname of her divorced outed hubby.

      1. Should read: there is, but thankfully less although there shouldn’t be one at all, stigma…

        Good God, why do I have to correct myself on something nearly an hour later?

      2. Jester, he knew he was gay from the get-go. I need to use the sarcasm thingy and spell-check too. I don’t believe for a second that It was suppression but only a calculated move on his part. Politicians have to follow a script and part of it is pretty wife with cute kids. Huffington knew her husband was gay and said that it was joked about at their wedding. They both wanted something from each other and married eyes and doors wide open.

  9. Anti gay marriage = bigotry

    1. Not if you oppose State-sanctioned marriage.

      1. Oh yes it is, see me @7:02

        1. You’re a fucking idiot. No one wants to see you at any time.

          1. Hey Cutie! 😉

  10. Obviously the state should be out of the marriage business entirely, but if it is going to license marriages, it had damn well better license it for any party that can reasonably enter into a contract.

    1. That would make most gay marriage proponents “bigots” by Warren’s definition.I don’t here a lot of support for polygamy and incestuous marriage.

      1. Yes, many of them would be bigots, but at least one other category of person wouldn’t fall under their bigotry.

      2. I support equal rights for polygamous and incestuous marriages. However, I would not support actual incestuous marriages, just the right for people to enter into them.

        (If a man marries two sisters, is that incest?)

  11. Thanks, Jacob. Someone needs to calm down the animal spirits of the in your face PC crowd. We all know more politicians are multisexual than not, so who really gives a crap?

  12. It is interesting how all the outrage on this incident is focused on his sexuality, rather than the fact that he was driving drunk in a state-owned vehicle.

    1. So true.

    2. Actually, I’d be very interested in any votes he might have cast regarding drunk driving laws, penalties, etc.

  13. The title is excellent. Well played, Mr. Sullum.

  14. Ashburn says his votes comported with the views of his constituents

    Did his vote for the largest tax increase by any state in US history comport to the views of his constituents?

    I think any analysis (I said “anal” hehehe) of any possible hypocrisy is more than valid given that if he were forthright about his sexual orientation, he would never have been a representative of his district. What else could he have said or done in order to gain his seat?

  15. Obligatory:

    “You are the gayest monster since gay came to Gaytown!”

  16. Speaking of frauds, Paul Ryan and Jeff Flake(so called libertarian members of congress) voted against the resolution to pull out of Afghanistan, (so did Michelle Bachmann, but thats not really a surprise.)

    1. At least you acknowledge Michelle Bachmann as a “so-called libertarian”.

      We’re making progress!

    2. “So-called”? Ryan voted for TARP.

      1. TARP totally disqualifies him from the coveted “so-called libertarian” leaning label.

        Flake and Bachmann fit though.

        1. While he did vote for TARP, I would say Bachmann definately does not, and well neither does Flake or Ryan, they may have been liberty leaning, but their vote to continue a decade old war definitely has destroyed it.

  17. Having a nuanced view of gay marriage is something you talk about when you’re campaigning…

    Voting against legalizing gay marriage is something you do.

    See the difference?

    Another example… You can be against the recreational use of marijuana and still be for legalization–but you can’t vote against legalization and be for legalization too. …by definition.

    You’re not for the government treating gay people like everybody else if you’re a legislator who voted against the government treating gay people like everybody else.

    A nuanced argument is when you talk about why you did what you did. Being in favor of something you voted against–that’s politician BS.

    P.S. There’s an old song from a better time that goes…

    I’ve been to Bakersfield twice,
    and four county fairs,
    but I’ve never seen a woman like that anywheres

    Bakerfield’s an outlier. …Bakersfield’s on the way from one of my all time favorite motorcycle roads (twisties galore) to Ojai via the 33 on the 58? But there isn’t much there otherwise–you might as well be in Utah, culturally speaking. Bakersfield’s probably the reddest part of that big blue state–redder than Orange County for sure…

    Meaning an election might be like a box of chocolates? …but this guy probably wasn’t gonna win if he’d voted for gay marriage–that just probably isn’t what his voters were voting for.

    1. Suppose you wanted to outlaw abortions, but couldn’t get enough votes to do so, yet you could be the swing vote to enact a ban on lesbians getting abortions. Couldn’t you vote for it to reduce the number of legal abortions without being anti-lesbian?

      1. See, that’s a bait & switch–I’m not voting against lesbians; I’m voting against abortion!

        I guess that’s okay if people fall for it, but you can’t vote against abortions and then say you were for choice.

        And nobody can say you’re for abortion just because you voted against lesbians either.

        I think part of it is that in the case of gay marriage, it’s really cut and dry. You’re talking about whether gay marriage should be legal in California. There’s not a whole lot of room for nuance.

        If it were a question of funding abortions for illegal aliens with public money, well you’ve got at least six sides to that issue.

        1. Pro-choice
        2. Pro-life
        3. Budget Restraint
        4. Spend Money on Poor
        5. Anti-immigration
        6. Open Borders

        How many sides are there to the issue of gay marriage? I only see two.

        1. Pro-gay marriage
        2. Anti-gay marriage

        A gay dude from the reddest of red districts went to Sacramento and voted to stick it to the denizens of Hollywood and the Castro.

        Having mightily ticked off the politically powerful people in Hollywood and San Francisco, he’s not about to win any state wide elections, and if the people of Bakerfield sent him to Sacramento as their representative in the Culture War?

        I doubt he’ll seek another term.

        The bigger question for me is? Why does it always seem to be the Republicans that turn out to be closeted homosexuals? Is there a reason for that?

        1. Religious indoctrination, fundamentalism and God has a great sense of humor.

  18. They should make gay people spend a few days in divorce court, and then go to a big girls pow wow talking about how much green they got from sleeping with that guy.

    Eh, that last part sucked a little. If you agree that there are problems with family, marriage, and divorce law caused by excessive regulation and govt. malarkey then wouldn’t it stand that if you really hated gay people, you’d want to lump them in that system.

    1. Oh no,

      Yes, there are problems with family, marriage and divorce, but they are as natural of proclivities as being straight or gay. All are older than Hieroglyphs and Cuneiform.

      No one wants to lump gays around here. Gays become gays when they give up their individuality to become partner of the ‘gay community’ exclusively. Believe me, I understand how that happens, so I give these particular ‘gays’ a lot of leeway just like I do to any other persecuted minority that jumps into groupthink.

      Groupthink is the saddest thing anyone can do. Even heterosexual white males with Ivy League Educations and…fall into that trap. No man is ever bound unless he allows himself to be bound.

      1. That lumping line was just a bit of a gag, but i don’t believe being against gay marriage is a mark of bigotry. I agree with you on the damages of groupthink, but only to a point on leeway. Understanding is one thing, but I’m not going to condone pouting. And really, the gay people who want to tar and feather this guy, and label him dangerous to gays, are really just pouting. To me, the biggest issues facing gay people should be their treatment in less tolerant countries. But i see more outrage about marriage, and only an occasional pip for the latter.

        I think gay marriage will happen eventually, and the most progress has been made in the private sector regarding benefits and such.

        If any persecuted minority has made leaps and bounds in acceptance these last few years, it’s been gay folk. and I’ve been all over the place with this so i apologize, but i think gay people are their own worse enemy and that’s a direct result of groupthink. Albeit, it won’t stop gay marriage from coming, but it will delay or stymie a better form.

  19. The hypocrisy is him stating he opposed gay marriage on behalf of his constituents while at the same time voting in favor of a crippling tax increase that was overwhelmingly opposed by his constituents. Obviously he could care less about what his constituents think unless it keeps the closet door closed.

  20. ‘his opposition to “gay-rights legislation,” if by that the Los Angeles Times means laws banning private discrimination against homosexuals’

    State-licensed SSM would probably, in California, have the same effect as a law against private discrimination.

    Envision the following scenario:

    The state govt extends recognition to SSM and starts issuing licenses on the same terms as opposite-sex licenses. A male employee goes to his boss, who runs a private company, shows his state-issued marriage license, and demands that his ‘husband’ be enrolled under the company’s spousal-benefits policy. The boss replies, ‘our policy defines spouse to mean opposite-sex only. You’re male, so we would only give benefits to a female spouse. Your spouse is male, so our policy doesn’t apply, sorry.’

    Then the employee sues for sex discrimination. If he’d been a woman, then he could have gotten spousal benefits for his husband. Because he’s a man, he can’t get the benefits. Since gay=black, this would be the legal equivalent of an employer denying spousal benefits to mixed-race spouses.

    Employee takes his case to the California Supreme Court and wins. Private employers must treat same-sex couples the same as opposite-sex.

    A voter initiative proposes to overrule the Supreme Court decision and legalize private employers discriminating against gays.

    Reason and the Reason Foundation support the initiative, based on its support for the rights of private employers.

    Angry picketers besiege the Reason Foundation offices. The media run stories about the ‘hypocrisy’ of the Reason folks. ‘You try to get gay support by claiming to support gay rights, but you would allow evil corporations to discriminate against them!’

    1. Max
      Are you fine with “private discrimination” against blacks?

      1. And . . . we’re back to ‘gay is the new black.’

        This is where we came in.

        1. The gay guy that cuts my hair told me that navy was the new black!

          He also said that orange is the new red, so now I don’t know what to believe.

      2. Duh. That’s kind of the point. Most people aren’t “alright” with it but think it should be legal for private businesses to discriminate however they’d like. Ugh, you need to leave, you’ve been around here for so long and still haven’t learned shit.

        1. Your exclusionary attitude oppresses me!

        2. “Most people aren’t “alright” with it but think it should be legal for private businesses to discriminate however they’d like.”

          Most people think it should be legal for private businesses to discriminate based on race? I guess all those Civil Rights Acts snuck through both houses of our popularly elected representatives several times…

      3. You know, my last BF was a racist. Marriage would only have created delays in getting away from him.

  21. How about private discrimination against Catholics? In a more enlightened time that was the rage…

      1. And what do you mean ‘used to be?’

        1. Wah wah, Mad Max. If your priests could keep their dicks out of children’s buttholes I might feel sorry for you and your whining.

          Private discrimination against those of any creed should be legal. That doesn’t make it “okay”. Well, it’s okay when you’re discriminating against rapist priests and the shitheads who cover their messes.

  22. I believe there is a substantial segment of the population that does not have a problem with Gay Unions that have the same rights as a married man and wife but does have a problem with the term marriage being used for this Union. I don’t believe this is prejudice and neither does my gay friend who lives in California. On the other hand, my hetrosexual children do.
    Eventually, enough of the people who believe like I do will die and gay marriage will be legal everywhere, just as enough people who oppose marijuana legalization will die and we will finally get that passed.
    It’s a matter of patience that one can hurry only so much.

    1. We’re all just waiting on those hypocritical baby boomers to die.

    2. I believe there is a substantial segment of the population that does not have a problem with Gay Unions that have the same rights as a married man and wife but does have a problem with the term marriage being used for this Union.

      I am one of them.

      Eventually, enough of the people who believe like I do will die and gay marriage will be legal everywhere, just as enough people who oppose marijuana legalization will die and we will finally get that passed.

      When do you expect a gay “marriage” amendment to be ratified?

  23. It’s much worse than that, Mad Max. I know a person who works for a civilian agency of the federal government. The person got a big promotion and relocated to a federal agency field office. The person’s spouse also worked for the same federal agency. Both spouses had met while working together. The federal agency promoted BOTH the husband and the wife so they could be relocated TOGETHER. In other words, Mad Max, one spouse got promoted — a bigger paycheck and better benefits — simply because of a marriage certificate. Picture the other federal employees– people more qualified — that got passed over for that promotion, simply because they didn’t have the foresight to marry someone who was getting promoted. You’ve heard the old story, “The easiest way to get promoted is to marry the boss’s daughter.” Well, something like that happens in the federal government every day of the week. That’s one of the problems same-sex marriage will create for those who want to stick to the “old ways.” If one guy or gal gets promoted, will the federal government be able to justify promoting the spouse, if it’s another guy or gal of the same gender? Can the federal employer justify skipping over more qualified applicants and award a job vacancy to a spouse simply because they are a spouse? There are many conservatives out their who don’t want the “definition” of marriage changed because they want to keep all of these peripheral marital benefits for themselves. These are the mostly unspoken marriage benefits that don’t even make the headlines, but are very lucrative and profitable benefits for the married couples involved.

    The same thing happens in the military. Currently, if you read books on social class, the books will tell you that — at any social gathering — the wife of a general outranks the wife of a major. What if the wife of the general is another man? Does the male wife of the general have any influence on a major, who is also a man? What kind of pecking order will the military establish. These are the strange, peripheral issues the military isn’t talking about. But, basically, it’s all unearned status derived from a marriage certificate. These are the issues that seem silly, but have to be addressed. This is what the military means when they mention that strange issue of “morale.” They’re talking about the top-down pecking order. It’s about who can chew on whose ass. It may seem silly to you, but it’s a very real issue in the federal government.

    1. I was discussing *private* employment and the impact of state-recognized SSM on the rights of *private* employers.

      But if you could videotape those military social functions and post the results on YouTube, I’m sure it would be very interesting.

  24. There are plenty of government sponsored “RIGHTS” that are discriminatory. For example to receive social security you must have 40 quarters of vesting and be 62. That sounds like age discrimination to me. Many people will be vested around the age of 36. Why shouldn’t they be able to start receiving social security? I am against social security and would never advocate extending it to younger people. I feel the same way about gay marriage.

    Personally, I really could care less if they marry or not. However, I am against state sponsored marriage. I believe that people can call themselves married all they want, but that it should not affect benefits, taxes, rights, or treatment by private companies. This is blatant discrimination against single people and others that refuse the married label.

    Something that should be eliminated should never be expanded.

    1. I don’t believe in the state *sponsoring* marriage – that suggests that marriage is a creation of the state, thus subject to being defined – and redefined – by the state, as was done with ‘divorce reform’ and, now, the SSM movement.

      I would say that the state should recognize marriage as a prepolitical institution which exists independently of the state but calls for protection from the state.

      1. Or, to put it in H&R terms, I am knuckle-dragging bigot who personally crucified Matthew Shepherd on a fence post.

        1. No, but you are not a very good Catholic.

      2. What protection? I believe that they should get the same protection that others get: enforcement of any written contracts that they have drawn up. This would still not affect third-parties to any more extent than any other contract can.

        Marriage really should in of itself have no more legal weight than any other religious ceremony like baptism, communion, going on a hadj, whatever.

        1. but marriage has legal weight and till it does not gays should be able to participate.

          1. Fine then I should be able to start getting social security despite being 42. I’m vested. To do otherwise is blantant age discrimination.

            Also, I do not wish to be married, but I also demand the right to file as married to get the tax break.

            Finally, I expect my employer to insure some random person that I pick and charge for that benefit.

            1. It isn’t discrimination with respect to your age because everyone who is fully vested under the age 62 is denied.

              1. Ok then it also isn’t discrimination because everyone reguardless of sexual orientation has the right to marry someone of the opposite sex.

                The government discriminates based on color, sex, age, marital and family status.

                By allowing gay marriage is not reducing discrimination it is actaully increasing the amount of marital status discrimination.

                1. “The government discriminates based on color, sex, age, marital and family status” How so? Do you mean affirmative action for minorities and females? I explained my family benefits society below.

                2. “By allowing gay marriage is not reducing discrimination it is actually increasing the amount of marital status discrimination.” How so? Are you referring to the ‘I can’t marry my dog, sister or three people argument’? Or is your problem the benefit issue? The trend is for married or wish to be married gays to adopt or produce children via surrogate and thus follow the path that benefits society.

              2. I am assuming the government tax breaks reflect our need for for men to marry and produce children. It is not a discrimination of you as a single man but an encouragement to produce new citizens. I don’t get your random person argument because your personal payment/category of insurance would increase.

                1. Good point, but that is social engineering and is against Libertarian principals. Also, gay marriage would not produce future citizens and under your argument should not get the tax benefits for the marriage itself.

                  Oh the random person item was in regards to employers who subsidize spouses. Many no longer do this and the point would be moot there. However, for the ones that do, a person should be able to designate another person and split the difference with them or perhaps not choose anyone and keep the money.

                  I do not actually support any of this. I only bring it up to highlight that gay marriage increases the penalties against single people. More healthcare costs, pay goes down. More tax breaks, tax rates go up.

                  1. I’m not a libertarian. I know gay people with children. The need for parenting is not exclusive to sexuality. Insurance does not work with the split the difference deal. Let’s say you picked a woman who wanted pregnancy insurance, then you would pay more than the single guy, under 25. It is not based on your employer but on the insurance company rates. Marriage in general increases the penalties against single people and you would have an argument to make if it was stated with respect to children. Straight or gay couples should not have tax advantages over singles if they do not produce children. When the argument is put forth in this manner, you are not discriminating against the person but for their lack of fulfilling the goal of the tax break.

                    1. Are you saying there should be no tax benefits for marriage? If so, I agree.

                      As far as insurance, some employers give you more to spend if you are married. My old employer would give you about 3k to spend on insurance in a cafeteria plan if you were single and 5k if married. Also, insurance for two is often less than double the single rate. I was arguing that I should be able to pick some random person to insure and get the 5k and charge them 1k for insuring them or keep the 2k for myself.

                    2. “My old employer would give you about 3k to spend on insurance in a cafeteria plan if you were single and 5k if married.” Again, that was not your employer’s decision. She was offered plans and probably picked what the broker recommended based on the size/average age/sex/marital status of employees. The fact that it may have been cheaper for two was an incentive from the insurer. I understand your argument but your beef is with the insurance industry and no one else (except the aforementioned ‘vindictive bitch’).

                    3. “Are you saying there should be no tax benefits for marriage?” Not for the marriage itself but for the adoption or birth of children. When this legislation was created, couples married and pregnancy followed quickly. This is no longer the case and our tax laws should reflect societal changes.

                    4. Well not exactly. The employer/Insurance company will have to abide by the law as to the definition of marriage. By extending it to gays or pillows would increase the cost to the employer (well pillows would probably not increase healthcare costs) and depress pay rates. Much like increasing the marrage tax break would reduce tax flows and probably be offset by increased rates.

                    5. Yes, the costs would increase for the employer but business is creative and that would be one more challenge. I know of companies that have gone to HSA insurance because of increased rates. Yes, the tax break would reduce tax flow but again it could be tweaked to include only marriages that produce a family. I don’t think society should fear moving forward and a lot of the arguments against same sex marriage are based on fear.

      3. it’s hard to reconcile this:

        that suggests that marriage is a creation of the state

        against this:

        I would say that the state should recognize marriage as a prepolitical institution which exists independently of the state but calls for protection from the state.

        modern marriage is very much a creation of the state. that it gets clumped together with its legal and social meaning (two very distinct things) into something needing “protection” is a weird magical worldview i can’t quite figure out. how is your marriage affected by the marriage to hank and henry down the block, or in another state?

    2. I have been a bit bewildered by Libertarian support of this issue. A good percentage of the population gets subsidized healthcare based on their age, and Libertarians are rightfully against extending this to everyone via a public option. Yet, most are also against state approved marriage and benefits, yet wish to extend this RIGHT.

      1. These are the same “libertarians” that wanted Fed-funding for stem cell research.

        1. Ah good point, thanks. I never liked that position and forgot that it was supported. There are inconsistencies in the orthodoxy. I guess it is like Ron Bailey pushing a carbon tax. I like his work, but that idea always made me convulse with pain.

  25. I’m sure your convoluted explanation is much more plausible than the straight forward answer.

  26. Is Korea more freedom oriented than the US on marriage?

    1. Wow great article, it solves all my concerns. Marriage for everyone.

      I really don’t want to marry a man or a woman, but if this gets me a tax break, I am on board with it.

      An inanimate object is far better than that vindictive bitch that I had to ask a judge for permission to leave eight years ago.

      1. Hmm,’vindictive bitch’! I see why you dislike marriage;-)

        1. It is very unfortunate, I lost a very beautiful Indian woman a few years back over that stance.

          If I could only marry a pillow problem solved. Tax breaks and I doubt I would ever despise it.

          Oh, and it was great debating with you. Most of these become pointles name calling. Unfortunate.

          1. I like the pointless name calling. It reminds me of my childhood. Btw, a pillow would eventually lose its batting. You should try to see that woman again!

            1. She got married.

              Anyway off to bed. Had a hair transplant a few days ago and have felt worn out since then.

              Need to get as many benefits out of being single as I can. Been losing weight, working out, nice hair and soon will live like Charlie Harper.

    2. A pillow? He must be confused what getting head means.

  27. I have to agree with Mr. Sullum. If Mr. Ashburn did not make a point out of being an anti-gay activist, then calling him a hypocrite is overblown. Fact is, he was in an awkward situation where in order to have any influence at all he felt it necessary to hide part of who he is. After hiding that fact, he did not go out of his way to hurt others like himself.

    So, he was not the bravest (or perhaps foolhardy) of souls, but he wasn’t a bad guy either. He wasn’t like Mark Foley, taking the lead to enact bad laws that he himself felt no compunction to obey.

    It’s quite likely that he would never have been elected if he had been out, and what advantage would that have been to the causes he espoused? What if a real hypocrite like Foley had taken the place instead? Would that have been better? I tend to think that Ashburn made the best of a bad situation.

    That said, as others have pointed out, he should have had enough self-discipline to avoid driving drunk.

  28. “He had sex with men, which is not something he ever tried to prohibit.”

    Why on Earth would you make an unproven allegation like that. Ashburn said he is ‘gay’, nothing more. Are Priests still heterosexual if they are celibate? Are all 16 year old boys asexual if they haven’t had sex? To accuse Ashburn of engaging in homosexual sex acts is absurd without any proof whatsoever.

  29. Hypocrisy in politicians?

    That is impossible!

    After all, would Chucky Schumer, a supporter of strict gun control laws, have a concealed-carry weapons permit? Would Richard Daley, a defender of Chicago’s handgun ban, have a security detail of armed bodyguards?

  30. From the article, I gather that Ashburn’s support of having sex outside of marriage with other men is perfectly acceptable as well as his opposition to same sex marriage. Since I was under the impression that he was part of the so-called “family values” group, I can only assume that either hypocrisy is a family value these days or having sex with men outside of marriage is. Is Senator Ashburn implying that marriage is not necessary for people having sex? Is that the new “family values” that the Republican Party is now touting? As the article states, Senator Ashburn never supported making homosexual relations illegal and actively participated in them himself. Senator Ashburn has stated that he was only representing the people who elected him. If that is so, do the people who elected him support homosexual sex outside of marriage? If so, Bakersfield is certainly more liberal than other conservative areas in California.

  31. “To accuse Ashburn of engaging in homosexual sex acts is absurd without any proof whatsoever.”

    I believe he admitted to that himself.

  32. Here’s is what you asked for. Ashburn voted against anti-discrimination laws in 2008 while he was crusing gay bars. He also (I’ll get you those votes or you can look them up.) voted against domestic partnerships in California in 1999 and 2002. Here’s an Ashburn vote against anti-discrimination laws for the men he desires most (for himself) in 2008. He also voted against domestic partnership laws in 1999 and 2002.…..an_id=9694

    That enough hypocrisy for you?

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