Newly-out Arizona Senator Steve Gallardo has been told to ‘act more gay’ by a colleague attempting to have him removed as party whip.
Democratic senator Olivia Cajero Bedford questioned Gallardo’s ‘lack of honesty’ at a caucus on Tuesday, after he came out last month.
Gallardo said: “She said that I should be more gay and she questioned my integrity. She said she was glad I came out, but that I should be more gay. I’m more offended that she questioned my integrity.
“What the hell that has to do with anything, I don’t know… It took people back, it sucked the air out of the room.”
Cajero Bedford’s motion to remove Gallardo as Democratic minority whip was defeated by an 8-to-3 vote.
She has since told the Arizona Capital Times that Gallardo shouldn’t have hidden his sexuality, saying: “Why was he hiding it? It wouldn’t have made any difference.”
She defended her comments as an attempt at a joke, explaining: “I said, ‘You ought to act more gay’, and he said, ‘I can’t’.”
“It was an attempt to be sort of neutral. I’m fine with him being gay or not.”
Cajero Bedford claims she only moved the motion to have him removed as minority whip because he is running for US Congress.