In a move that stunned many in the Arizona state Senate, Democratic Sen. Olivia Cajero Bedford called for a vote to remove openly gay state Sen. Steve Gallardo (D) from his post as Senate minority whip on Tuesday.
According to Queerty.com, Cajero Bedford accused Gallardo — who came out as gay last month — of questionable ethics, saying that he is an arriviste who only came out as gay to curry political favor and call attention to himself. She also said to the Arizona Capitol Times that Gallardo should not remain in a leadership position while he runs for U.S. Congress.
Her motion to unseat him as whip failed on an 8-to-3 vote.
“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 Times. “I’m more offended that she questioned my integrity.”
With regards to her comments about his orientation and personal comportment, Gallardo said that “what the hell that has to do with anything, I don’t know.”
Gallardo announced in March that he is running for the Congressional seat being vacated by retiring U.S. Rep. Ed Pastor (D). His announcement that he is gay came during the fight against Arizona’s controversial “religious freedom” bill, SB 1062, which would allow business owners to not provide services to LGBT people or anyone else if they felt that to do so would violate their “sincerely held religious beliefs.”
Cajero Bedford told the Times that she wonders why Gallardo is “just now saying he’s gay.”
She also took issue with the fact that in 2013, Gallardo was part of a coalition of Democrats who voted to remove state Sen. Landrum Taylor (D) from her position as minority whip when she ran for Arizona Secretary of State.
“He’s running for office and staying in leadership, and he wasn’t (at the Capitol) all last week,” she said. “He voted to put Landrum Taylor out, and now he’s doing the same thing. That’s a question of honesty.”
She said that her remark about him acting “more gay” was an attempt at levity.
“I said, ‘You ought to act more gay,’ and he said, ‘I can’t,’” she said. “It was an attempt to be sort of neutral. I’m fine with him being gay or not.”
Gallardo said that when Cajero Bedford made the remarks, fellow lawmakers were shocked.
“It took people back,” he said. “It sucked the air out of the room.”
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
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