JEFFRSON CITY, MO: Today (May 2), Missouri Republican Representative Zachary Wyatt (R-002) publicly came out to his colleagues during a press conference asking for the withdrawal House Bill 2051 or the “Don’t Say Gay Bill”.
The announcement makes the Representative the only out gay, Republican holding state office currently serving in the United States - and made while Representative Wyatt offered an amendment containing enumerated categories to an anti-bullying bill up for debate. Wyatt said that he had heard anti-gay snickering, jokes and bigotry at the Capitol, which prompted his own personal story on bullying and to come out.
"We are incredibly proud of Representative Wyatt's courage today," says 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."
The Representative’s announcement comes at a time when all eyes are already on state lawmakers from the LGBT community due to widespread attention surrounding Missouri’s “Don’t Say Gay” legislation, and the decision by the House to make a Concealed Carry Permit holder a protected class for employment. If passed, the “Don’t Say Gay Bill” would ban public school-sponsored instruction, material, or extracurricular activities that discuss sexual orientation except when concerning human reproduction.
Wyatt is moving to Hawaii to study Marine Biology and recently suspended his bid for reelection. His term ends in January 2013.