Arizona Sen. Steve Gallardo, a Democrat from Phoenix, announced he is gay during a news conference Wednesday, saying the national controversy over anti-LGBT legislation that was vetoed last week pushed him to come forward as an out gay man, The Arizona Republic reports.
“I am gay, I’m a Latino, I’m a state senator and it’s OK,” Gallardo, 44, told the group of reporters.
Gallardo said he took time last week to contemplate how to announce what his friends and family had already known for years — around the same time Gov. Jan Brewer contemplated action on “religious freedom” legislation that many claimed would have led to widespread discrimination, particularly against LGBT people in the state. Brewer ultimately vetoed the measure, Senate Bill 1062, last Wednesday.
The senator’s decision to come out has nothing to do with his run for U.S. Congress, he said, according to the Republic. Last week, Gallardo announced he would run for the Democratic nomination for the Congressional District 7 seat after serving two terms in the state Senate. He is currently the Senate’s minority whip.
With that, Gallardo said he “couldn’t care less” how his coming out could impact his congressional run. “This is about standing up and doing the right thing,” he said, according to Phoenix New Times.
In coming out, Gallardo joins two other out members of the Arizona Legislature, Sen. Robert Meza (D-Phoenix) and Rep. Demion Clinco (D-Tucson), according to the report.