News :: Politics

Lawmaker Tells Openly Gay Ariz. Senator to ’Act More Gay’

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Thursday Apr 3, 2014
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Sen. Steve Gallardo
Sen. Steve Gallardo  (Source:AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Nearly a month after Arizona state Sen. Steve Gallardo (D) made headlines for coming out as gay, Arizona state Sen. Olivia Cajero Bedford (D) told Gallardo to "act more gay" in a closed-door caucus meeting Tuesday, because she questioned his sexuality, the Arizona Capitol Times reports.

Gallardo told the newspaper that Cajero Bedford argued that Gallardo should be removed from his position because of his decision to run for Congress and because he didn’t reveal that he is gay until last month.

Nevertheless, Cajero Bedford’s attempt to boot Gallardo failed by a 3-8 vote to oust him.

"She said that I should be more gay and she questioned my integrity. She said she was glad I came out (of the closet), but that I should be more gay," Gallardo told the Capitol Times. "I’m more offended that she questioned my integrity."

When asked to comment about Cajero Bedford’s "acting more gay" comment, Gallardo said, "what the hell that has nothing do with anything, I don’t know." He later added that he’s dismissed her remarks but that her statement shocked some lawmakers.

"It took people back," Gallardo said. "It sucked the air out of the room."

According to Cajero Bedford, it was an issue of "honesty." She added that Democrats voted to remove Sen. Leah Landrum Taylor (D) last October because she decided to run for Sectary of State. She said Gallardo is in the same situation.

"(Gallardo’s) just now saying he’s gay, and I was questioning why he put out Landrum Taylor because she was running for office," Cajero Bedford told the Capitol Times. "He’s running for office and staying in leadership, and he wasn’t (at the Capitol) all last week. He voted to put Landrum Taylor out, and now he’s doing the same thing. That’s a question of honesty."

Cajero Bedford defended her "act more gay" comment, and said she was just trying to be funny.

"I said, ’You ought to act more gay,’ and he said, ’I can’t,’" she told the newspaper. "It was an attempt to be sort of neutral. I’m fine with him being gay or not."

She added that Gallardo was being dishonest for not coming out.

"Why was he hiding it? It wouldn’t have made any difference," she said.

Gallardo, 45, who is seeking to take a vacant seat in Congress by retired Rep. Ed Pastor, came out early last month partly because of Arizona’s controversial SB 1062, which was vetoed by Gov. Jan Brewer but would have allowed business owners to refuse service to LGBT customers in the name of their religious freedom.

"In the middle of that discussion, it dawned on me that this bill affects me directly, and seeing all the people come to the Capitol protesting and rallying around this bill solidified my thought and that it’s time for me to stand up and say, ’This is who I am,’" he said.

"It’s a good feeling to be able to say this is who I am, this is a part of my life I never talk about but I want to talk about it, and it’s the right thing to do," he added.

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