After Orlando, this politician apologised for his anti-LGBT past and backed equality

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The Lieutenant Governor of Utah has apologised for his anti-LGBT past, after the Orlando massacre.

50 people were killed and 53 injured in the shocking terrorist hate crime attack over the weekend, which saw a gunman open fire inside The Pulse gay bar in Orlando, Florida.

At a vigil for the victims in Utah, Republican politician Lt Gov Spencer Cox surprised some by turning up to speak.

Like many Republicans, Cox had been opposed to LGBT rights in the past – but in his speech, he firmly endorsed equality and apologised for his previous stances.

He said “There has been something about this tragedy that has very much troubled me. I believe that there is a question, two questions actually, that each [straight person] needs to ask ourselves in our heart of hearts.

“How did you feel when you heard that 49 people had been gunned down by a self-proclaimed terrorist? That’s the easy question.

“Here is the hard one: Did that feeling change when you found out the shooting was at a gay bar at 2 AM in the morning?

“If that feeling changed, then we are doing something wrong.”

He continued: “I grew up in a small town and went to a small rural high school. There were some kids in my class that were different. Sometimes I wasn’t kind to them.

“I didn’t know it at the time, but I know now that they were gay.

“I will forever regret not treating them with the kindness, dignity and respect — the love — that they deserved. For that, I sincerely and humbly apologise.

“Over the intervening years, my heart has changed. It has changed because of you. It has changed because I have gotten to know many of you.

“You have been patient with me. You helped me learn the right letters of the alphabet in the right order even though you keep adding new ones. You have been kind to me.

“[Gay Democrat] Jim Dabakis even told me I dressed nice once, even though I know he was lying.

“You have treated me with the kindness, dignity, and respect — the love — that I very often did not deserve. And it has made me love you.

“But now we are here. We are here because 49 beautiful, amazing people are gone. These are not just statistics. These were individuals. These are human beings.

“They each have a story. They each had dreams, goals, talents, friends, family. They are you and they are me. And one night they went out to relax, to laugh, to connect, to forget, to remember. And in a few minutes of chaos and terror, they were gone.”