Arizona Legislation Prompts State Senator to Reveal he is Gay
March 6, 2014 2:56 PM EST
An Arizona state senator revealed that he was gay on Wednesday, saying he felt compelled to make his sexual orientation public because of the recent battle over legislation in the state that would have allowed businesses to refuse sevices to homosexuals.
A gay rights activist holds a rainbow flag during a protest against a verdict by the Supreme Court in New Delhi December 15, 2013. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi
The disclosure by Democratic Minority Whip Steve Gallardo comes as he is vying to replace retiring U.S. Representative Ed Pastor.
"I thought it was important right now to say, 'I'm gay. I am Latino. I'm a state senator and it's OK,'" Gallardo said in a phone interview. "I want to tell those people who struggle every day about coming out that it's OK to be who you are."
Gallardo, 44, said the "game-changer" in his decision to reveal his sexuality came on February 19 when a measure - vetoed by Republican Governor Jan Brewer last week - went to the floor of the state Senate for debate and drew a public outcry.
The measure, widely seen as a backlash against federal court decisions in favor of same-sex marriage in several states, would have allowed business owners to claim religious beliefs as a basis for refusing to serve same-sex couples or any other prospective customers.
"It just hit me that this will affect me directly and that I had to let everyone know that I was gay," said Gallardo, who was first elected to the Arizona legislature in 2002.
Gallardo has been among the most vocal Democrats in the legislature on a range of issues, including immigration, worker's rights and election reform. He served three terms in the state House of Representative and is completing his second term in the Senate.
He announced last week that he would run to replace Pastor, a Democrat, who is retiring from the U.S. Congress after 11 terms in office. Gallardo is one of three announced Democratic candidates for that seat, joining state Representative Ruben Gallego and Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox.
Gallardo becomes one of a small number of openly gay members at the state legislature, joining Senator Robert Meza of Phoenix and Representative Demion Clinco of Tucson.
Most Popular Slideshows
- ‘Sons of Anarchy’ Season 7 Finale Spoilers: Kurt Sutter On Ending The Biker Series And Picking The Right Song For The Final Ride
- Prince Charles’ Wife Camilla Parker-Bowles In Drug Scandal - Reports
- Prince Harry Kissing Mystery Blond, Cressida Bonas & Camilla Thurlow Are Distant Memory
- St. Louis Rams 28, Seattle Seahawks 26 [PHOTOS]
Join the Conversation
- Kate Middleton Pregnancy Update: Duchess Spotted All Smiles, Sickness Seems Over
- 14 Contestants For Miss Hitler 2014 Beauty Pageant Organised By Russian Equivalent Of Facebook
- 2014 Meteor Shower: Slooh To Have Live Broadcast Of Orionids Meteor Shower October 21 Peak, NASA Assures Ideal Observing Conditions
- Kate Middleton Pregnancy Update: Baby's Character Revealed, No Twins For the Duchess---Report
- 63-Year-Old Admits He Has Made Love To More Than 700 Cars But Now Remains Faithful To Just One Beetle
- Galaxy Note 4 vs Redmi Note 2 vs iPhone 6: Samsung in Danger with Depressing Q3
- iOS 8 Jailbreak Release Date Likely this October 2014 with Pangu not Evad3rs Firming Up as Creator
- Top 4 Free-To-Download Apps for Fuller iPhone 6, 6 Plus Experience
- Battery Saving Android 5.0 Lollipop Feature Extends The Battery Life Of Your Android Device By 90 Minutes And Displays Orange Bar While Power Saving Mode Is On
- Apple Inc. (AAPL) Stock Set to Soar Beyond $100 Despite Decline After New iPad Launch
- Russia Beefs Up Gold Reserves To Offset Heat of Sanctions And Undercut Dollar
- Australia's 'No Way' Anti-Asylum Seeker Poster Sparks Outrage