I think a lot of good came out of that ‘Don’t Serve The Gays’ bill in Arizona. In addition to the veto by Governor Jan Brewer — and let’s be clear, she didn’t veto it because of her affection for The Gays or for its blatant discrimination, but for political gain — I think it made many people in this country aware that LGBT Americans, in many places, are not equal under the law, and it brought a lot of attention to other states who were debating the same issue; other states who have since shelved the bills, or completely shut them down, or maybe just took the anti-LGBT out of them.
All good things, really, but then there’s this …
After listening to the arguments for that anti-LGBT, so-called religious freedom bill, and after delivering a speech to activists who protested it, Democratic Arizona State Senator Steve Gallardo met with reporters a week later to make an announcement:
"I'm gay, I'm a Latino, and I'm a senator. And it's okay."
It was after watching, and listening to, pro-LGBT, anti-discrimination activists fighting against SB 1062 that Gallardo was inspired to speak up; and even though Jan Brewer vetoed the bill, Gallardo says the debate was "actually a game changer."
"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."
As for how this may affect his congressional aspirations — Gallardo has announced that he's running for a seat in Arizona's Congressional District 7 — he says he hasn't even thought about that.
"I couldn't care less. This is about standing up and doing the right thing."
Gallardo says he never hid the fact that he was gay, and no one ever asked him, but it wasn't a secret in his personal life. He came out to friends at age 25, and to his family, who are devout Catholics, when he was thirty. And he summed up reaction from his family and friends on coming out publicly:
"My family asked me, 'Why do you have to do this?' And my friends said, 'It's about time.'"
It is about time, and it was the right time.
Welcome out, Senator Gallardo, and as our gift to you from HOMO HQ, please accept the obligatory Coming Out Toaster Oven — perfect for those Congressional offices — and a copy of The Gay Agenda to keep on your desk.