Missouri State Senator and gubernatorial hopeful Bob Dixon said this week that childhood abuse and "teenage confusion" led him to live as a gay man for five years until he had a profound religious experience.


Dixon issued a statement Monday proclaiming his "faith in God" and support for "traditional marriage" while condemning any opponents who try to use his past against him. It remains unclear whether the revelations should be interpreted as Dixon's endorsement of so-called "conversion therapy."Dixon pic


The Springfield News-Leader reports that Dixon, who has a wife and three children, emphasized his stringent conservative values last week when announcing his candidacy, claiming that child abuse led him to doubt his sexuality as a teen.


“I have put the childhood abuse, and the teenage confusing behind me,” said the Republican Senator. “What others intended for harm has resulted in untold good. I have overcome, and will not allow evil to win.”


According to the Advocate, Dixon and his mother, former Republican state Rep. Jean Dixon, have both used his "ex-gay" claims before in the political arena. Dixon's mother adamantly opposed the staging of The Normal Heart at Missouri State University in 1989 and told the News-Leader in 1992 that her son's homosexuality upset her and spurred her protest of the play.


Via the Advocate:


As for Dixon himself, in May 1991 he spoke before the Springfield City Council to oppose a hate crimes ordinance. Records from the meeting 24 years ago do not reveal exactly what Dixon said to the committee, but that 1992 newspaper report records that he told the councilors he was gay in his teenage years, until a religious conversion. He also told them that he planned to get married. Dixon was 22 at the time.


David Clohessy, the St. Louis-based director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, spoke to reporters Monday about Dixon, noting his support for legislation to help “protect kids from predators,” but stopped short of endorsing him.


"As best we can tell, he’s the first statewide candidate in Missouri history to disclose that he was molested as a child," said Clohessy. "We are sad for his trauma but grateful for his candor. Adults who have the courage to talk publicly about having been sexually assaulted, at any age by any predator, should be applauded.


In his campaign announcement, Dixon touted his conservative record in the state legislature. "I’m 100 percent pro-life," Dixon said. "I’m a strong supporter of the the Second Amendment, actually I’m a strong supporter of the whole Constitution. And I’ve spent about the last 23 years as a strong supporter of traditional marriage."


You can read the entire statement from Sen. Bob Dixon below:


“Through the years, I have publicly spoken about being abused as a child and the confusion this caused me as a teenager. There are literally thousands of Missourians who will understand how heartbreaking childhood abuse can be — though few might be willing to acknowledge it.”


“I have put the childhood abuse, and the teenage confusion behind me. What others intended for harm has resulted in untold good. I have overcome, and will not allow evil to win. From passing the Child Witness Protection Act, to protecting children from those who would do harm to them from the shadows of the internet, and to reforming Missouri’s Criminal Code — I have consistently worked to treat all people with respect, understanding, and compassion, and to bring people together, not divide them.”


“There are people who to this day try to turn politics into a blood sport. This sort of approach discourages many good people from public service. While it is disappointing, I will have no fear of those who wish to tear down others for their gain. I will have no part of it.”


“I began this campaign from my front porch surround by people I love and those who know me best, my wife Amanda and our daughters. I told those gathered there that my faith in an Almighty God who is full of love and compassion is at the core of all I do to help others, and daily helps me to set the compass.”


“My faith in a loving and just God has helped to guide my approach with people. There are those who constantly seek to divide us, but I am committed to renewing the Spirit of Missouri and bringing people together with sensible conservative solutions.”

 

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