That’s Debatable

March 10, 2010

On Monday, State Sen. Roy Ashburn (R-Bakersfield), whose voting record has consistently gone against legislative measures that favor gay rights and are friendly to homosexuals, lesbians and transgender people, told a hometown radio station that he is gay.

He came out while answering questions about his arrest for suspected DUI on March 3. It turned out that he had visited a gay bar in the hours leading up to his arrest, according to news reports.

Ashburn said that, although he is gay, in the state Senate he has staunchly opposed pro-gay legislation because “I felt my duty, and I still feel this way, is to represent my constituents.”


Do you think that a politician should vote for what he or she believes in, or put the opinions and interests of the people who voted him or her into office ahead of personal views or feelings?

I am a strong supporter of family values and traditional marriage, but the basic political and moral question here seems to be: How far should a legislator reflect his constituency, and how far should he vote his own conscience? Is he elected as a voice or an echo?

An elected official should always listen to his constituents, but must also be willing to provide leadership. Such leadership should include anticipating future challenges effectively.

A good political leader is also an educator, using their vision to help change the minds and feelings of their constituency.

Most importantly, nobody should campaign on a platform he or she does not believe in.

Assemblyman Van Tran


Elected representatives are best served by listening to their constituents while trying to follow their principles, preferably grounded in the Constitution.

Trying to pursue opinion polls and the passions of the moment may win elections, but standing on principle and trying to explain to the public why the principles are correct leads to a stronger republic.

Assemblyman Chuck DeVore


State Sen. Tom Harman (R-Huntington Beach) did not participate.

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