Dennis Gilman's raw footage of Babeu's Saturday presser
In addition to Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu's admission to being a gay man during a Saturday press conference, wherein he denied allegations published in my colleague Monica Alonzo's expose concerning deportation threats against his ex-lover, Babeu made progressive statements on two issues of great import both to the LGBT community and to social conservatives.
Specifically, he supported both gays in the military and gay marriage, in response to a line of questioning kicked off by Phoenix videographer Dennis Gilman.
In regard to gays in the military, Babeu, who served a tour of duty in Iraq with the Arizona Army National Guard, spoke passionately about the issue.
"I believe that any American who wants to serve their country," he said, "and put on the uniform of our country to protect our liberties and freedoms, they should be allowed to do so."
On gay marriage, which is banned by the Arizona Constitution, Babeu tried to cop a "Ron Paul" line that it is "a states rights issue," while also stating that, "legal contracts absolutely should be allowed for anybody."
Pressed on the subject, Babeu characterized any attempts to limit the rights of gays to marry as un-American.
"If states prohibit that, that's the issues for the states," he replied. "I can be a supporter and get out there and articulate as we progress as a culture and as a society that there should be individual liberties and there should be individual freedoms...[for] any other person to define someone else's relationship and to say that it's not OK, that is not who we are as Americans."
However, it seems unlikely that Babeu would have taken the same stand while running for Congress in the conservatively-drawn CD 4, if Alonzo's story had never been published.