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Arizona senator comes out after veto of ‘religious freedom’ bill

‘I’m gay, I’m Latino, and I’m a senator and it’s okay’: Steve Gallardo

Arizona Senator Steve Gallardo says he was motivated to come out after seeing activists fight back against SB 1062, a bill vetoed by the state’s governor that would have allowed businesses to refuse service on religious grounds. Credit: azcentral.com

“I’m gay, I’m Latino and I’m a senator, and it’s okay,” Arizona lawmaker Steve Gallardo says in an interview with Arizona Central.

Gallardo says it was tough having to hide his sexuality from his devoutly Catholic family because “you don’t talk about that.” He says it’s referred to as the “G word,” and it’s not a topic that’s brought up at “nana’s house on Sunday.”

He adds, “They don’t ask why Steve is not married yet — 44 years old — never brought a girl home.” He says that while he came out to his friends at 25, he waited until he was 30 to tell his family.

“There’s a lot of folks that go through that,” he notes, “and that’s part of it; I think it’s that broader message that it’s okay.”

The Phoenix New Times says Gallardo was also inspired to come out after bearing witness to activists fighting back against SB 1062, the bill that would have allowed businesses to refuse service on religious grounds. Governor Jan Brewer vetoed the measure after facing mounting pressure from powerful corporate and political interests to do so.

Gallardo adds, “After I stood up on the floor and argued against 1062, as I’ve done on many bills before, I sat down and said, ‘Wow. This bill affects me. It affects me directly.’”