Kidnapping survivor Elizabeth Smart’s father announces he is gay

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FILE – In this Aug. 27, 2012 file photo, Ed Smart, left, and daughter Elizabeth Smart talk to reporters before her speech at Scotts Hill High School, where missing Tennessee woman Holly Bobo graduated from, in Scotts Hill, Tenn. The father of Utah kidnapping survivor Elizabeth Smart has come out as gay, saying his decision brings challenges but also “huge relief.” Ed Smart said in a letter shared Friday, Aug. 16, 2019, with NBC’s “Today” show that he no longer feels comfortable being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which opposes same-sex relationships. (AP Photo/Adrian Sainz, File)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (KLAS) — Ed Smart, the father of kidnapping survivor Elizabeth Smart, has come out as gay, local sources in Utah report.

Sixty-four-year-old Smart shared a note addressing his sexuality on Facebook Thursday that was intended for friends and family. The post was removed, but not before several media outlets obtained it.

He confirmed its authenticity Friday. The Salt Lake Tribune published the note, which starts out, “This is one of the hardest letters I have ever written. Hard because I am finally acknowledging a part of me that I have struggled with most of my life and never wanted to accept…” He says sharing the news is a “huge relief.”

Smart also revealed he will sever ties with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While the church has been “major part” of his life and “great blessing”, he is no longer comfortable being a member. The church opposes same-sex relationships.

He became an advocate for kidnapped children when he and his family were thrust into the public spotlight in 2002. His daughter was kidnapped from their Salt Lake City home and found nine months later.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports court records revealed Lois Smart filed for divorce from her husband on July 5. Smart states he is sorry for the pain he’s caused his wife.

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