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Arizona Sen. Steve Gallardo announces he is gay

LISTEN: Arizona Sen. Steve Gallardo announced he is gay.

PHOENIX — Arizona Sen. Steve Gallardo announced Wednesday that he is gay.

“I am gay, I am Latino, I am a state senator and it’s OK,” the senator said.

Gallardo came out just one week after Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed Senate Bill 1062, which would have let businesses deny services to people based on religious beliefs. He said the bill sparked his decision to come out.

“I want to be able to protect what I call my gay and lesbian family and friends,” he said, adding those people were the one who urged him to announce his sexuality.

“I decided over the weekend to share my story, share a side of my life I’ve never had to share before.”

Gallardo had spoken out against SB 1062 before it was vetoed.

“Regardless of the person’s faith, regardless of who the person may love, I think we should be embracing equality,” he said Friday following the veto. “I think discrimination is wrong — let it be a gay or lesbian not agreeing with the faith of someone else — discrimination is wrong and should not be tolerated.”