US Republican senator who has regularly voted against gay rights measures during his 14 years in office has confessed that he is gay, BBC reported.
Roy Ashburn came out in an interview with a radio station in California, the state he represents.
He has been on leave from the Senate since his arrest last week on suspicion of driving under the influence.
Mr Ashburn said his votes reflected the way his constituents wanted him to vote, not his own "internal conflict".
"I am gay... those are the words that have been so difficult for me for so long," the 55-year-old father-of-four told KERN radio.
Mr Ashburn said he felt the need to address rumours that he had visited a gay nightclub near the Capitol before his arrest on suspicion of drinking and driving on 3 March.
Last year, Mr Ashburn opposed a bill to establish a day of recognition to honour slain gay rights activist Harvey Milk.
He has also voted against efforts to expand anti-discrimination laws and recognise out-of-state gay marriages.
Mr Ashburn said he does not plan to run for any public office after his term ends later this year.