Rep. Zach Wyatt went one step further than speaking out against Missouri's proposed 'Don't Say Gay' bill in a speech before his colleagues this week – he came out as gay himself.
'I'm not the first or the last Republican to come out,' Wyatt said. 'I've just gotten tired of the bigotry being shown from both sides of the aisle on gay issues. Being gay has never been a Republican or Democratic issue and it should never be.'
HB 2051 is similar to a bill being proposed in Tennessee which would ensure that sexual orientation not be discussed in any instruction, material, or extracurricular activity sponsored by a public school other than in scientific instruction concerning human reproduction.
'Students need to feel safe when they go to school and to be able to speak with their teachers, counselors and administrators when they're getting bullied,' Wyatt said. 'This bill will make that illegal.'
Wyatt represents the state's 2nd District and recently announced that he would not be running for another term. He has been accepted to the University of Hawaii to study Marine Biology but plans to finish out his term which ends on Dec. 31.
He said his two main regrets during his short time in office are voting against Missouri's non-discrimination act and not speaking out against school bullying when he was asked about the issue as a candidate.
'This year I've gotten the chance to truly look at my life,' he said. 'I will not lie to myself anymore about my own sexuality. It's probably been the hardest thing to come to terms with. I've always ignored it, didn't even think about it or want to talk about it.'
He hopes some good will come of his actions this week.
'If I can save one kind from hurting themselves or possibly taking their life, then I will have done my job as a legislator.'
Below is Wyatt's speech: