Saying, “being gay has never been a Republican or Democrat issue,” Zach Wyatt, a Christian Republican state representative in Missouri, this morning came out against his state’s proposed “Don’t Say Gay” bill — then came out as gay himself. Saying he is tired of the anti-gay “bigotry being shown from both sides of the aisle on gay issues,” today, as he did last week, Wyatt voiced his position against the Missouri “Don’t Say Gay” bill, calling it “horrible.”
“I’m compelled to speak out against colleagues and especially special interest groups who have pushed this bill forward,” Wyatt said, speaking to his colleagues about the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. “Students need to feel safe when they go to school and be able to speak to teachers, counselors, and administrators when they’re getting bullied. This bill will make that illegal.”
Speaking of his own sexuality, Wyatt told his colleagues, ”I will not lie to myself anymore about my own sexuality, it has probably been the hardest thing to come to terms with. I have always ignored it, didn’t even think about it, or want to talk about it.”
Wyatt also apologized for having taken the GOP position on an anti-bullying bill in an interview, and for voting against a non-discrimination bill.
“We are incredibly proud of Representative Wyatt’s courage today,” said A.J. Bockelman, Executive Director of PROMO – Missouri’s statewide advocacy organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender equality. “We hope this announcement should serve as a positive example not only for the LGBT community, but also for Representative Wyatt’s colleagues. We truly hope the announcement will be met with support from his colleagues and friends from both sides of the aisle and respect his decision to be true to his identity and self.”
Last week, Rep. Wyatt released a statement condemning the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, similar to one in Tennessee, which would make it illegal to discuss homosexuality in schools in Missouri.
“Wyatt is one of four gay lawmakers in Jefferson City. He joined Rep. Stacey Newman, a St. Louis Democrat, Wednesday morning to call on 20 of his fellow Republicans to withdraw their support of the legislation,” PoliticMO reports.
The “Don’t Say Gay” bill’s sponsor, Steve Cookson, made headlines here at The New Civil Rights Movement last week when he expressed feelings of being misunderstood and confused as to why people are upset after GOP lawmakers supporting his bill compared same-sex marriage to bestiality.
Wyatt’s campaign website, and his speech today, notes he will not seek another term in office, and instead is headed to Hawaii to go back to school.