Senator Arrested for DUI After Reportedly Leaving Midtown Gay BarSenator Roy Asburn

by Charles Peer

State Senator Roy Ashburn was arrested by the California Highway Patrol on suspicion of driving drunk near the Capitol in downtown Sacramento, allegedly after leaving FACES Nighclub with another man who was with him in the car, but not arrested or named.

KOVR CBS 13 in Sacramento has reported that sources have told them that he was seen in FACES before he was arrested. However, Terry Sidie, the owner of FACES, said that he was in his club until about 1:30 in the morning that night and that he did not see Ashburn in the club, nor did his manager Laurie Bonifield or other FACES employees.

Ashburn (R-Bakersfield) has been a loud opponent of LGBT rights. He has a 100% rating from the anti-gay Capitol Resource Family Impact group for voting against every LGBT rights bill during his tenure and has organized and hosted with Rev. Louis Sheldon anti-gay marriage rallies for the Traditional Values Coalition in Bakersfield.

Outword tried to reach the Senator by phone, but neither he or his press secretary have returned our calls.

“We were doing a big Latino pageant that night and no one saw him,” Sidie told Outword. “He could have been at Badlands, he could have been at the Mercantile. He might not even have been at a gay bar, he could have been at Lounge on 20.”

Ashburn issued a statement taking full responsibility and apologizing to his family, constituents, friends and Senate colleagues, but made no mention of the circumstances leading up to his arrest.

“I am deeply sorry for my actions and offer no excuse for my poor judgment,” Ashburn said in the statement.” I accept complete responsibility for my conduct and am prepared to accept the consequences for what I did.”

Ashburn is married and has four children.

Sgt. Rick Campbell of the CHP told The Bakersfield Californian that the Kern County lawmaker was spotted weaving while driving down L St near 13th Street at about 2 a.m. Wednesday, March 3, and was pulled over.

Ashburn had bloodshot, watery eyes and smelled of alcohol, Campbell said.  A field sobriety test was given at the scene and he was determined to be under the influence of alcohol and arrested on misdemeanor charges of driving under the influence and driving with a blood alcohol level of .08 percent or higher at about 2:10 a.m.

Ashburn was then taken to Sacramento County jail and given a chemical test, the results of which are still pending. He was later released on a $1,400 bond.

In March 2009, Sen. Ashburn voted against a Senate resolution declaring Proposition 8 unconstitutional. He also voted three times to oppose the creation of Harvey Milk Day and against California recognizing out of state same-sex marriages. In 2008 he voted to oppose an expansion of the state's insurance laws to include sexual orientation as a protected class.

If convicted of a first-time DUI offense, Ashburn could face three years unsupervised probation; a fine of $480 plus multiple penalty assessments totaling more than $1,000 or 18 days in county jail; 48 hours in county jail, which can be served through an out-of-jail work project; and completion of a first-time DUI offender program.

Ashburn is being termed out of his Senate seat and has not announced any plans for running for other political office.

Charles Peer can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


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