It seems to have all the elements of a non-story: a state legislator caught driving drunk in downtown Sacramento. Why is that even news? The Sacramento Bee was typically discreet:
A spokesman for the CHP said that [state senator Roy] Ashburn's vehicle was observed weaving on L Street near 13th Street in downtown Sacramento shortly before 2 a.m.Had the senator had too much to drink while dining at the Old Spaghetti Factory? The hour suggests otherwise, since the restaurant in the old railroad depot next to the downtown train tracks is not a late-night establishment. Across the tracks, however, there is a popular hangout called Faces, a well-known gay bar just a few blocks from the capitol building.
Sen. Ashburn was apparently caught on the wrong side of the tracks.
He also had a male companion with him.
The Bee glossed over those details, but other sources are bubbling with the news. The rest of the story—as if you didn't already know it—is that Roy Ashburn is a conservative Republican state senator who can be relied upon to cast a vote against any gay rights measure that might appear on the legislative docket. He's a Central Valley man who styles himself a stalwart defender of wholesome family values (as defined by the Republican Party, of course).
As far as I'm concerned, the cherry on the sundae is this: He represents my parents' senatorial district, one of the “reddest” regions of the state. (My father will be somewhat less than delighted.) In an ironic twist, it was one of Ashburn's predecessors, a laissez-faire Republican named Howard Way, who cast the deciding vote in eliminating California's sodomy laws. Ashburn could have followed in his predecessor's libertarian footsteps, but apparently chose closeted libertinism instead.