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Writer: It Matters That Giffords's Assistant Is Gay

Writer: It Matters That Giffords's Assistant Is Gay


It's an important fact that Gabrielle Giffords's assistant, who helped save the congresswoman after she was shot Saturday, is gay and Latino, writes Mary Elizabeth Williams on

Daniel Hernandez is the 20-year-old intern who helped stanch Giffords's bleeding and stayed with the 40-year-old Arizona Democrat after she was shot in the head at point-blank range. Hernandez also stayed with his boss after medical professionals arrived and soothed Giffords by telling her that he would notify her husband and parents.

"[Reporting that Hernandez is gay and Latino] matters because guys like Arizona Sen. John McCain, who described the repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell' as 'a very sad day,' still think that orientation has an effect on whether or not a person can ably serve in the military," writes Williams. "It matters because the notion that two people of the same-sex can love each other and build a life together is still considered in many parts of the country, including Arizona, a threat to what is laughably referred to a "traditional marriage" -- as if heterosexuals have really mopped up the floor with this whole commitment thing."

Jarrett Barrios, president of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, agreed with Williams, telling The Advocate that Hernandez's sexual orientation shouldn't be hidden.

"Our sexual orientation is an important part of who we are as people," Barrios says. "Media today -- and Americans -- want to get to know courageous people like Daniel and learn who they are. Profiles of Daniel should include his sexual orientation because a story about who he is would not be complete without it. But the media should focus on what's truly important and that's the fact that Daniel helped save the life of Congresswoman Gifford and doubtlessly many others with his heroic act and patriotism."

Read the full story here.

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