Erica Diaz, 22, a gay woman who is the senator’s granddaughter, wanted her grandfather’s supporters to know whom they were opposing.
“I am a Diaz; my family is very political,” said Ms. Diaz, whose pastel pink shirt stood in contrast to her grandfather’s bright white cowboy suit. “It is in my blood to stand up for what I believe in — regardless of who I am up against.”
Ms. Diaz’s supporters, far smaller than the raucous rally on the courthouse steps, numbered a couple of dozen, including her mother, sister and girlfriend.
They spun rainbow umbrellas in the rain and shouted through a bullhorn until a police officer said they did not have the proper permit.
It was years ago that Ms. Diaz told her grandfather that she was gay. The experience, she said, was a positive one. “He told me that regardless of my decision, he is my grandfather, and he loves me, and he respects me,” she recalled. “I respect the fact he believes what he believes.”
But she also spoke of the hurt that came with watching him fight against what mattered most to her: her right to marry whom she pleased and to serve in the Navy, where she enlisted as a young woman hoping to make a career. Instead, she admitted she was a lesbian and was discharged shortly before President Obama signed legislation repealing the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy
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