Arizona Sen. Steve Gallardo Tells Press: "I Am Gay, I'm A Latino, I'm A State Senator, And It's Okay"

"I am gay, I'm a Latino, I'm a state senator, and it's okay." That's what Arizona Sen. Steve Gallardo announced to a cluster of reporters Wednesday, after his state came worryingly close to legalizing repugnant anti-gay bill SB 1062 last week. Gallardo, 45, is in the running for a U.S. House seat being vacated by retiring Rep. Ed Pastor.

Gallardo told reporters that his decision to come out was bolstered by the fervor over SB 1062, vetoed by Governor Jan Brewer after a huge backlash against legalizing discrimination under religious grounds. The NFL even floated the possibility of pulling next year's Super Bowl out of Phoenix if the law went through. The tumultuous few days for Arizona steeled Gallardo's resolve to come out, he told press.

Only Gallardo's close friends and family knew he was gay: he'd come out to his friends at 25, and to his family a few years later. But he called the events of Feb. 19, when the State Senate actually debated and passed SB 1062, "an actual game changer," and felt moved to go public with his sexuality to provide support for Arizona's LGBT community.

In an interview with Talking Points Memo, Gallardo described how uncomfortable he felt when hearing his elected colleagues making homophobic comments.

Now, Gallardo's announcement raises the number of openly-gay Arizona lawmakers to three: Gallardo, State Senator Robert Meza of Phoenix, and State Representative Demion Clinco of Tucson.

Unfortunately, as Bustle reported yesterday, an upcoming Supreme Court decision against chain Hobby Lobby could infringe the same rights that SB 1062 was designed to take away.