WASHINGTON, D.C. — A lawmaker speaking out against a controversial bill in the Missouri House also comes out as a gay man. As a freshman lawmaker not seeing re-election, Zach Wyatt says he has been asking himself if he has done enough to make lives for Missourians better.
Wednesday, he left a mark that he says is an education on tolerance and acceptance regardless of party lines. During a morning press conference at the capitol the stage was set.
“Since the founding of my party, individual equality and freedom have been its foundation.”
The floor belonging to Republican Representative Zach Wyatt.
“Today I ask you to stand with me as a proud republican, a proud veteran and a proud gay man,” said Wyatt.
While announcing publicly he is a gay man, Wyatt asked his fellow republicans to withdraw their support of a House Bill that would limit any discussion of sexual orientation in schools to just scientific instruction and human reproduction.
“They deserve to have a voice and I think that that’s going to be a big thing,” Wyatt said.
Having his own experience with bullying, Wyatt says a bill like this would make it illegal for kids to talk to teachers or councilors about their sexual orientation.
“I think it this bill were to be passed it would kind of be like sweeping everything under the rug,” he said.
One of the bills Co-Sponsors, Representative Andrew Koenig says sexual orientation is a politicized issues that has no place in schools.
“Both sides want to get into the schools and push their agenda, whether it’s the heterosexuals or the homosexuals and I think that that’s an issue that for the most part should be left up to the parents,” said Koenig.
Koenig says schools should instead implement anti-bullying measures.
“Bullying has been happening since the beginning of time, for countless reasons and I don’t think we should specify when it comes to bullying any specific things I think schools should have policies that bullying is wrong for whatever reason,” said Koenig.
So far, none of the 20 Republicans sponsoring the bill have withdrawn their support but Wyatt says they have been supportive of his coming out.