The father of kidnapping survivor Elizabeth Smart has come out as gay. Ed Smart, 64, recently revealed his truth on Facebook in a post, which he's since removed.
According to a report from People, in the post, Ed also announced that he filed for divorce from his wife Lois Smart in early July. Lois and Ed share six children. While it was a challenge to come to terms with his sexuality, the 64-year-old finally arrived at a place where he felt that he could. Even though he and Lois will divorce, Ed still claims to love his family eternally.
"I have recently acknowledged to myself and my family that I am gay," Ed said.
The Smarts went through a lot during the nine-month ordeal while Elizabeth was missing in 2002. The then-14-year-old was abducted from her bedroom in the family home in Salt Lake City, Utah.
In addition to the anguish the family suffered while their daughter was missing, Ed also struggled with his internal turmoil about his own sexual orientation.
"Living with the pain and guilt I have for so many years, not willing to accept the truth about my orientation has at times brought me to the point where I questioned whether life was still worth living."As for Elizabeth, who is now a 31-year-old mother of three and activist, she supports her parents. Her focus remains on loving her family despite the sadness that their separation brings.
"My parents taught me as a young child that they would love me unconditionally no matter what happened."Because he has chosen to come out, Ed said that he would leave The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but he will not try to tell the church what it should believe about LGBTQ individuals. Regardless of his affiliation with the denomination, Ed still holds his firm and unwavering faith.
NBC News reported that Ed worked non-stop through the nine months his daughter Elizabeth was missing to ensure that the case remained in the public eye. Since Elizabeth's return, he and his daughter are advocates for missing children through the Elizabeth Smart Foundation.
As for those struggling with their identity as Ed struggled, he has great sympathy for their plight. As the news made headlines this morning, many people took to Twitter to express their support for Ed's decision to come out of the closet and most wished only happiness and peace for the Smart family.