A Brigham Young University valedictorian came out as gay in his graduation speech Friday, and his announcement was met with applause during the faith-based school’s ceremony.
Matt Easton gave the now-viral speech as a political science valedictorian for the school run by the Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“I stand before my family, friends, and graduating class today to say that I am proud to be the gay son of God,” Easton said.
He was met with cheering and applause from the audience.
“Four years ago, it would have been impossible for me to imagine that I would come out to my entire college,” he continued. “It is a phenomenal feeling and it is a victory for me in and of itself.”
Easton sent the speech to school officials for review two weeks prior to the ceremony, according to The Washington Post on Monday.
“Go for it,” the dean’s office said when approving the speech, WaPo reported.
“The dean’s office saw and approved Matt’s speech before our college convocation,” Ben Ogles, College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences dean, told The Daily Caller News Foundation over email Monday.
Easton came out to his parents and close friends before, but not publicly on such a large scale, according to KUTV.
BYU’s honor code does not punish those who are attracted to somebody of the same sex. The school’s code, however, “requires all members of the university community to manifest a strict commitment to the law of chastity. Homosexual behavior is inappropriate and violates the Honor Code. Homosexual behavior includes not only sexual relations between members of the same sex, but all forms of physical intimacy that give expression to homosexual feelings.” (RELATED: Mormon Church Relents On Ban Against Baptism For Children Of LGBT Couples)
Easton said he was inspired by Democratic presidential candidate and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg for talking about Christianity and sexuality, WaPo reported.
“There comes a time when I’m going to have to start thinking about these questions, you know?’ Easton told KUTV. “Am I going to get married? Am I going to have children? What are these pressures that my family and my parents want for me to do? Are they a reality for me?”
The church recently overturned a 2015 policy where children of LGBT parents could not get baptized.
Eric Hawkins, director of media relations for the LDS Church, said to TheDCNF over email the church “won’t have anything to contribute for this story.”
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