Arizona state Sen. Olivia Cajero Bedford (D) advised openly gay state Sen. Steve Gallardo (D) to “act more gay” in a closed-door caucus meeting Tuesday during which she sought to remove Gallardo from his post as Senate minority whip, according to Arizona Capitol Times.
Cajero Bedford argued that Gallardo’s decision to run for Congress while serving as minority whip, and the fact that he hadn't previously disclosed his sexual orientation, warranted his removal from the leadership post. Cajero Bedford's impromptu vote to oust Gallardo failed 3-8.
“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.”
Cajero Bedford insisted Tuesday's line of questioning was an issue of “honesty,” citing Gallardo’s October 2013 vote that removed state Sen. Leah Landrum Taylor (D) from her role as Senate minority leader after she launched a campaign for Arizona's secretary of state.
“(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 on Tuesday. “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.”
Although Cajero Bedford voted against Taylor’s dismissal, and called October's caucus overthrow a “detriment to the Democratic Party,” she maintained that Gallardo’s actions warrant his removal.
She also defended her comments on Gallardo's sexuality as a joke and an “attempt to be sort of neutral.”
"I’m fine with him being gay or not," Cajero Bedford said, before casting suspicion on why he was "hiding it."
Gallardo, who is running for Congress in Arizona's 7th District, told the Capitol Times he didn’t understand “what the hell that has to do with anything.”
"I am gay, I'm a Latino, I'm a state senator and it's OK," Gallardo said at a news conference in March. "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."
(h/t Arizona Capitol Times)