A valedictorian at the leading Mormon academic institution, Brigham Young University, announced during his graduation speech he is a “gay son of God.”
Matt Easton’s speech Friday to BYU’s College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences as the political science valedictorian was met with applause and cheers, reported KUTV-TV in Salt Lake City.
“I stand before my family, friends, and graduating class today to say that I am proud to be a gay son of God,” he said.
Easton discussed his decision to “come out of the closet” with a KUTV reporter Sunday.
“Not many people are given a platform where they can speak in front of all their peers and these peers’ families,” he said. “I was nervous. I’m still a little nervous about it. You know there’s people that are telling me I went too far, people telling me I didn’t go far enough. Ultimately I had to do what felt right to me.”
Easton confirmed he had “never come out publicly before.”
“I had to – only my close relatives and my close friends, not even all of my family knew,” he said.
KUTV said Easton’s speech had been reviewed and approved by BYU officials.
Easton told the TV station he has come “to terms, not with who I thought I should be, but who the Lord has made me to be.”
“As such I stand before the Lord, my family, my graduating class today to say that I am proud to be a gay son of God.”
KUTV noted the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that having same-sex attraction is not a sin, but acting upon those feelings is sinful.
BYU’s Honor Code does not ban gay students but prohibits “homosexual behavior,” which includes all forms of physical intimacy that “give expression to homosexual feelings.”
Earlier in this month, KUTV pointed out, the Salt Lake City Mormons reversed a ban on blessing and baptizing children of LGBT parents.
Franklin Graham: ‘We don’t define sin’
Evangelist Franklin Graham responded to a similar declaration earlier this month, essentially that “God made me gay,” by 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg.
An Episcopalian, Buttigieg criticized Pence’s orthodox Christian beliefs in a speech to the LGBTQ Victory Fund.
“That’s the thing I wish the Mike Pences of the world would understand … if you got a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me – your quarrel, sir, is with my Creator,” said Buttigieg.
Graham, CEO of Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Association, wrote via Facebook that Buttigieg doesn’t have the authority to define sin.
“To set the record straight, Mr. Mayor,” he wrote, “the issue isn’t whether somebody has a problem with who you are – the issue is that we all have a problem with God because of our sin.
“And it applies to every single human being. God loves us, and the Bible says we are all sinners who need God’s forgiveness, which He offers if we repent and turn from our sin and put our faith in His Son, Jesus Christ,” Graham wrote.
“We don’t define sin, God does in His Word, the Bible. Using new terms like ‘Progressive Christianity’ and the ‘Christian Left’ may sound appealing to some, but God’s laws and standards do not change. He says, ‘For I am the Lord, I change not.’ I believe what the Bible says is truth.”