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Gay BYU student comes out in valedictorian speech

Matt Easton, the 24-year-old political science major and valedictorian of the Brigham Young University class of 2019, came out as gay in his graduation speech.
Image: Matt Easton
Matt Easton on April 29, 2019, in Cottonwood Heights, Utah.Rick Bowmer / AP

SALT LAKE CITY — A gay student who came out during a valedictorian speech at Mormon-owned Brigham Young University is earning applause and admiration from students and notable figures like actress Kristin Chenoweth.

Matt Easton said Monday he hopes the speech helps ease loneliness felt by other LGBTQ students at the institution where an honor code forbids dating between members of the same sex.

The speech was preapproved by the college.

The 24-year-old political science major says only a few people knew about his sexuality before Friday, when he spoke the words "I am proud to be a gay son of God."

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a doctrinal opposition to same-sex marriage and intimacy, but has been trying to stake out a compassionate stance toward LGBTQ members.