An Arizona state Senator has come out as gay, after the state’s governor had to veto a senate bill which would have legalised anti-gay discrimination.
According to the Phoenix New Times, Democratic Senator Steve Gallardo told reporters: “I’m gay, I’m a Latino, and I’m a senator. And it’s okay.”
He said he wanted to come out as the senate debate of the controversial bill, which would have prevented the State of Arizona from taking action against individuals and businesses who refuse services to gay people, was a “game changer”.
Gallardo said: “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.’”
“Seeing the people out there, protesting. I thought it’s time.
“It’s time to let people know about me. And to send people a message. I’m more interested in letting people who struggle with this know that it’s okay.”
The senator, who had previously announced that he would run for Congress when Congressman Ed Pastor retires, said he “couldn’t care less” if coming out hurts his chances of being elected to Congress.
The 45 year old says he came out to his friends aged 25, and his devoutly Catholic family five years later, but that no one had ever asked him about his personal life publicly.