Sen. Olivia Cajero Bedford questioned Sen. Steve Gallardo’s honesty in regards to his sexual orientation in a closed-door caucus meeting on Tuesday and said Gallardo should “act more gay.”
Gallardo told Arizona Capitol Times that Cajero Bedford, D-Tucson, questioned his integrity because he only recently announced that he was gay and said he should not stay in a leadership position while running for Congress. Cajero Bedford later called for a vote to remove Gallardo from his post as the Senate’s minority whip, which 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 said. “I’m more offended that she questioned my integrity.”
As for the comments about his sexual orientation, “what the hell that has to do with anything, I don’t know,” Gallardo said.
Gallardo announced in March that he is gay, shortly after announcing his intention to run for the 7th Congressional District seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Ed Pastor, who will retire at the end of his term.
Cajero Bedford said it was an issue of “honesty.” Democrats voted 8-5 in October 2013 to oust Sen. Leah Landrum Taylor, D-Phoenix, from her post as Senate minority leader, citing her decision at the time to run for Secretary of State, Cajero Bedford said.
Cajero Bedford, who voted against ousting Landrum Taylor, said Gallardo was now in the same situation.
“(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. “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.”
Cajero Bedford said her comments about Gallardo needing “to act more gay” were an attempt at humor: “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 said.
However, she said that she felt his keeping his sexual orientation a secret was a matter of honesty.
“Why was he hiding it? It wouldn’t have made any difference,” she said.
Gallardo dismissed Cajero Bedford’s comments about his sexual orientation, but her comments did shock lawmakers, he said.
“It took people back,” Gallardo said. “It sucked the air out of the room.”