Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox delivered a speech to thousands who gathered at Utah’s Salt Lake City-County Building to honor those who lost their lives during the shooting in Orlando, Florida. Cox was one of those who spoke at the vigil as his remarks have gained interest from national publications.
Sometimes it takes a horrible tragedy to make people open up and seek forgiveness for their own prejudices, the Salt Lake Tribune reports. Cox was moved by the horrible terror attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando and issued a heartfelt apology this week for his past bullying of gay people when he was growing up.
“There were some kids in my class that were different,” Utah Lt Governor Spencer Cox said. “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 apologize.”
It wasn’t just the tragedy in Orlando that changed how the State of Utah Lieutenant Governor views the LGBT community, of course — over the years he’s gotten to know lots of LGBT people whom he has come to consider close friends, NPR News reported.
“Over the intervening years, my heart has changed,” he said. “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 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, the Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox said since that time his “heart has changed” because of the love and patience of members of the LGBTQ community. He also addressed a pair of questions to those who may still hold feelings of ill-will toward the LGBTQ community:
“I believe that there is a question, two questions actually, that each of us needs to ask ourselves in our heart of hearts. And I am speaking now to the straight community. 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 a.m. in the morning? If that feeling changed, then we are doing something wrong.”
Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox then ended his speech by offering support to Orlando, Metro Weekly reported. “Our enemies have always made the same mistake. In my lifetime - in depression and in war - they have awaited our defeat. Each time, from the secret places of the American heart, came forth the faith they could not see or that they could not even imagine. It brought us victory. And it will again. For this is what America is all about.” Cox then said, “On behalf of the 3 million people of the state of Utah, We Are Orlando. We love you. And I love you.”