Missouri House Communications / AP
Rep. Zachary Wyatt. The Republican Missouri House member announced Wednesday that he's gay.
A Republican Missouri House member announced Wednesday that he is gay, urging GOP leaders to end the state’s so-called “don’t say gay” legislation that would limit discussion of sexual orientation in public schools.
“Today I ask you to stand with me as a proud Republican, a proud veteran, and a proud gay man who wants to protect all kids, addressing bullying in our schools,” said Rep. Zachary Wyatt, the Kirksville Daily Express in Kirksville, Mo., reported.
The 27-year-old cattle farmer from the rural northern Missouri town of Novinger said current legislation, HB 2051, prompted him to disclose his sexual orientation for the first time. Wyatt has publicly denounced the bill, which would ban teaching, extracurricular activities or materials that discuss sexual orientation unless they relate to the scientific facts about human reproduction.
“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. I didn’t even think about it or want to talk about it. I’ve not been immune to it. I hear the comments, usually snide ones, about me,” Wyatt said, the Daily Express reported.
“I am not the first or last Republican to come out. I have just gotten tired of the bigotry being shown on both sides of the aisle on gay issues. Being gay has never been a Republican or Democrat issue, and it should never be,” Wyatt said, the Daily Express reported.
HB 2051 appears unlikely to pass before the session ends on May 18, according to The Associated Press.
“If I can save one kid from hurting themselves or taking their life, then I have done my job as a representative,” said Wyatt, according to the Daily Express.
Republican Rep. Steve Cookson, who sponsored the bill, says he has no plans to withdraw it, according to local media reports.
Attempts by msnbc.com to reach Wyatt and Cookson for comment were unsuccesful on Wednesday.
According to the AP, a spokesman for the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, a national group that supports gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual candidate, said Wyatt is the only openly gay Republican now serving in a state legislature. There have been other gay GOP politicians who have served in state legislatures in the past, the AP reported.
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