Ed Smart, Elizabeth Smart's father, reveals he is gay

By Vanna Quiroz

/ CBS News

Ed Smart, the father of kidnapping survivor Elizabeth Smart, has come out as gay. Smart made the announcement in a letter on Facebook addressed to his friends and family members and then confirmed it to local media and CNN.

Smart expressed difficulty in "acknowledging a part" of himself which he has struggled to face for many years and "never wanted to accept." The 64-year-old father acknowledges how coming out has brought its "own set of challenges" but wrote that it's a "huge relief."

"I wish to share the news that I have recently acknowledged to myself and my family that I am gay," wrote Smart. He continued by addressing the struggles of witnessing in "silence for years as many LGBTQ individuals both in and out of the Church have been victims of ridicule, shunning, rejection and outright humiliation."

Trending News

He wrote that his relationship with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which only earlier this year said gay marriage is no longer a sin that would result in being banished from the church, has changed.

"As an openly gay man, the Church is not a place where I find solace any longer," he wrote. "It is not my responsibility to tell the Church, its members or its leadership what to believe about the rightness or wrongness of being LGBTQ. I can only believe what I feel is right, but it is my responsibility to continue to grow, progress and mature as a child of loving Heavenly Parents, and to do that in a way that is spiritually healthy for me."

"Acknowledging I am a gay man, is freeing but it also hurts many of those whom I love very much," he wrote. Smart recognizes the "excruciating pain" coming out has caused his longtime wife, Lois Smart, with whom he has five children. He filed for divorce on July 5, online Utah court records show, according to The Associated Press.

This September 13, 2018, file photo, shows Ed Smart looking on as Elizabeth Smart speaks in Salt Lake City. Rick Bowmer / AP

Smart and his family have been in the public eye since the kidnapping of his daughter, Elizabeth Smart, who was abducted from their home in Salt Lake City home at the age of 14 in 2002. She spent nine months in captivity before being freed.

Elizabeth Smart, now a 31-year-old mother of three, said in a statement to the AP that she's deeply saddened by her parents' separation but that nothing could change her love and admiration for them.

"My parents taught me as a young child that they would love me unconditionally no matter what happened," she said in the statement. "Their decisions are very personal. As such, I will not pass judgment and rather am focusing on loving and supporting them and the other members of my family."

First published on August 16, 2019 / 9:37 PM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Elizabeth Smart Father Gay screen-shot-2019-08-17-at-10-50-56-am.png

Rescued baby dugong dies of shock with a stomach full of plastic

"Her death will remind Thais and people all over the world not to dispose trash into the oceans," a Natural Resources and Environment Minister said

4H ago screen-shot-2019-08-17-at-10-50-56-am.png 0817-satmo-burnpits-petersen-1913888-640x360.jpg

Thousands of veterans fear "burn pits" have exposed them to lethal disease

At some of military bases in Afghanistan, waste materials were disposed of in so-called "burn pits"

4H ago 0817-satmo-burnpits-petersen-1913888-640x360.jpg Gibraltar Persian Gulf Tension

Iranian tanker to leave Gibraltar despite U.S. pressure

The ship was detained for over a month in Gibraltar for allegedly attempting to breach European Union sanctions on Syria

5H ago Gibraltar Persian Gulf Tension 0816-en-trumpgreenland-doane3.jpg

Greenland residents react to Trump's idea to buy the island

Sources told CBS News that Mr. Trump is interested in Greenland's strategic and military significance

19H ago 0816-en-trumpgreenland-doane3.jpg FILE PHOTO: Iranian oil tanker Grace 1 sits anchored after it was seized in July by British Royal Marines off the coast of the British Mediterranean territory, in the Strait of Gibraltar

Iranian oil tanker is free, but may be going nowhere fast

Grace 1 is free to go after official release by Gibraltar, but without a willing captain the ship may stay put, and give U.S. room to maneuver

Aug 16 FILE PHOTO: Iranian oil tanker Grace 1 sits anchored after it was seized in July by British Royal Marines off the coast of the British Mediterranean territory, in the Strait of Gibraltar Elizabeth Smart Father Gay

Elizabeth Smart's father reveals he is gay

"As an openly gay man, the Church is not a place where I find solace any longer," Smart wrote

15M ago Elizabeth Smart Father Gay photosforjustin.jpg

Far-right groups face off with counter-protesters in Portland

Police seized multiple weapons from different groups, including shields, bear spray and wooden poles

updated 21M ago photosforjustin.jpg 0817-satmo-blindedbythelight-mason-1913921-640x360.jpg

How a writer's love for "The Boss" inspired "Blinded by the Light"

"Blinded by the Light" tells the story of a Pakistani teen living in Britain who finds salvation in Springsteen's music

updated 11M ago 0817-satmo-blindedbythelight-mason-1913921-640x360.jpg 800.jpg

Woman arrested for holding black teens at gunpoint

The boys, who were raising money for their school football team, told police that the woman cursed at them and threatened to shoot them if they moved

3H ago 800.jpg 0817-satmo-thedish-eyalshani-1913948-640x360.jpg

Eyal Shani on his revolutionary approach to dining: "It has to be a miracle"

Shani said his secret is believing that each ingredient is a living creature with its own will

3H ago 0817-satmo-thedish-eyalshani-1913948-640x360.jpg UPDATED trail-markers-graphic-presidential-4.jpg

2020 Daily Trail Markers: Harris unveils "Camp Kamala en Español"

Harris looks to train Spanish-speaking volunteers, Klobuchar pitches gun control in South Carolina, and Democrats target Amash's seat

21H ago UPDATED trail-markers-graphic-presidential-4.jpg U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren speaks about her policy ideas with Anand Giridharadas at the South by Southwest (SXSW) conference and festivals in Austin, Texas

Warren releases massive plan to address issues facing Native Americans

Native American leader praises Warren's proposal ahead of candidate forum on indigenous issues

Aug 16 U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren speaks about her policy ideas with Anand Giridharadas at the South by Southwest (SXSW) conference and festivals in Austin, Texas Donald Trump Holds MAGA Campaign Rally In New Hampshire

Trump calls supporter he mocked at rally

President Trump called a supporter he mistook for a protester and mocked at his New Hampshire rally

Aug 16 Donald Trump Holds MAGA Campaign Rally In New Hampshire Acting Attorney General Whitaker Testifies Before House Judiciary Committee

House Judiciary to return from August recess to consider gun bills

"To keep our communities safe, we must act," said committee chair Jerry Nadler

Aug 16 Acting Attorney General Whitaker Testifies Before House Judiciary Committee Trump Democrats

McConnell recovering from "successful" shoulder surgery

The Senate majority leader tripped and fractured his shoulder outside his Kentucky home earlier this month

Aug 16 Trump Democrats 0817-satmo-blindedbythelight-mason-1913921-640x360.jpg

How a writer's love for "The Boss" inspired "Blinded by the Light"

"Blinded by the Light" tells the story of a Pakistani teen living in Britain who finds salvation in Springsteen's music

updated 11M ago 0817-satmo-blindedbythelight-mason-1913921-640x360.jpg woodstock-cover-burk-uzzle-color-promo.jpg

Woodstock at 50, in the words, and music, of those who were there

A half-century after a mass of humanity converged on a farm in Bethel, N.Y. for three days of peace and music, musicians and concert-goers recall a unique moment for their generation

Aug 4 woodstock-cover-burk-uzzle-color-promo.jpg 0817-satmo-thedish-eyalshani-1913948-640x360.jpg

Eyal Shani on his revolutionary approach to dining: "It has to be a miracle"

Shani said his secret is believing that each ingredient is a living creature with its own will

3H ago 0817-satmo-thedish-eyalshani-1913948-640x360.jpg 0817-satmo-saturdaysessions-takethejourney-mollytuttle-1913933-640x360.jpg

Molly Tuttle performs "Take the Journey"

Singer-songwriter Molly Tuttle began playing guitar when she was eight. The California native joined her family band at 15, and then started a solo career, releasing her first album "When You're Ready" just this spring. In her national television debut, Tuttle performs three songs off the new album.

6H ago 02:53 0817-satmo-saturdaysessions-takethejourney-mollytuttle-1913933-640x360.jpg 0817-satmo-saturdaysessions-lightcamein-mollytuttle-1913954-640x360.jpg

Molly Tuttle: Light Came In (Power Went Out)

Singer-songwriter Molly Tuttle began playing guitar when she was eight. The California native joined her family band at 15, and then started a solo career, releasing her first album "When You're Ready" just this spring. In her national television debut, Tuttle performs three songs off the new album.

5H ago 03:36 0817-satmo-saturdaysessions-lightcamein-mollytuttle-1913954-640x360.jpg Two Women Dressed in Black and Crying at Funeral

Funeral homes now live streaming memorial services

Roughly 20% of funeral homes in U.S. offer an online option to grieving family and friends who can't attend the event

Aug 15 Two Women Dressed in Black and Crying at Funeral School Choice Utah

Overstock shares sink after CEO comments about "Deep State"

Investors are fleeing retailer Overstock after its CEO issued a bizarre statement about the "deep state" and "men in black"

Aug 15 School Choice Utah Facebook logo on broken cracked mobile phone screen

U.S. lawmaker joins international Facebook investigation

Rep. David Cicilline joins the International Grand Committee on Disinformation and "Fake News," as lawmakers from a dozen countries seek answers on election influencing

Aug 15 Facebook logo on broken cracked mobile phone screen Real Estate Upstart WeWork Releases Paperwork For Initial Public Offering

WeWork filed its IPO — now meet its We Double

A Wyoming company with a Chinese address and $441 in the bank seems poised to benefit from WeWork's buzzy IPO

Aug 14 Real Estate Upstart WeWork Releases Paperwork For Initial Public Offering 081419-dream3.jpg

Dream Chaser spaceplanes to launch on Vulcan rocket

Sierra Nevada Corp. picks ULA's Vulcan rocket to boost Dream Chaser spaceplanes into orbit

Aug 14 081419-dream3.jpg screen-shot-2019-08-17-at-10-50-56-am.png

Rescued baby dugong dies of shock with a stomach full of plastic

"Her death will remind Thais and people all over the world not to dispose trash into the oceans," a Natural Resources and Environment Minister said

4H ago screen-shot-2019-08-17-at-10-50-56-am.png 081619-lander.jpg

NASA picks Alabama space center for moon lander program

The lander is a critical element in NASA's plans to return astronauts to the moon in 2024

21H ago 081619-lander.jpg Western Greenland Hit By Unseasonably Warm Weather

Varnish and rubber found in Arctic snow, according to study

The study postulated that the pollutants were potentially carried via air

Aug 15 Western Greenland Hit By Unseasonably Warm Weather Western Greenland Hit By Unseasonably Warm Weather

July was the hottest month ever recorded on Earth

On the last day of the month alone, 11 billion tons of ice melted across Greenland — contributing to record low sea ice levels

Aug 15 Western Greenland Hit By Unseasonably Warm Weather president-theodore-roosevelt-glacier-point-yosemite-national-park-1903-loc.jpg

Nature up close: Theodore Roosevelt, the conservation president

The conservation movement in the U.S. dramatically advanced under the 26th president's watch, as he established 5 national parks, created the National Wildlife Refuge System and U.S. Forest Service, and oversaw the protection of 230,000,000 acres

Aug 15 president-theodore-roosevelt-glacier-point-yosemite-national-park-1903-loc.jpg 0817-satmo-burnpits-petersen-1913888-640x360.jpg

Thousands of veterans fear "burn pits" have exposed them to lethal disease

At some of military bases in Afghanistan, waste materials were disposed of in so-called "burn pits"

4H ago 0817-satmo-burnpits-petersen-1913888-640x360.jpg grained-salmon-caviar-photos-1.jpg

Salmon caviar recalled due to botulism fears

Product sold in four states is possibly tainted with toxin that can cause life-threatening illness or death

21H ago grained-salmon-caviar-photos-1.jpg 15847-964-1.jpg

Tyson recalls chicken patties because of "extraneous matter"

Some consumers reported finding pieces of a mechanical seal or gasket in the Weaver fully cooked patties

Aug 16 15847-964-1.jpg DRCONGO-HEALTH-EBOLA

Ebola outbreak spreads, claiming first victims in a new region

Government in Congo's previously unaffected South Kivu province says 1 person there has died and their child is being treated

Aug 16 DRCONGO-HEALTH-EBOLA Handout photo of an rtist's rendition of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) proposed cigarette packaging carrying graphic new health warnings

FDA wants to put graphic warnings on cigarette packs

In a move to amplify the health risks, images would show neck tumors, feet with amputated toes, and diseased lungs

Aug 15 Handout photo of an rtist's rendition of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) proposed cigarette packaging carrying graphic new health warnings grained-salmon-caviar-photos-1.jpg

Salmon caviar recalled due to botulism fears

Product sold in four states is possibly tainted with toxin that can cause life-threatening illness or death

21H ago grained-salmon-caviar-photos-1.jpg Stock Market Graph next to a 1 dollar bill

Recession fears are back — should you be worried?

The longest economic expansion in U.S. history suddenly looks wobbly — but here's why it's too soon to freak

Aug 16 Stock Market Graph next to a 1 dollar bill Baseball player expression losing sucks

U.S. kids are quitting sports amid rising costs, inequality

Youth sports participation is rising among richer families, as children lower down the ladder exit the field

Aug 15 Baseball player expression losing sucks istock16795721large.jpg

If black families had white wealth, economy would be $1.5 trillion bigger

The typical white family in America has 10 times as much as the typical black family—and that hurts everyone

Aug 15 istock16795721large.jpg Internal Revenue Service IRS

IRS budgets cuts costing the feds billions of dollars

A sharp decline in funding for the tax agency has impaired its ability to audit big corporations and millionaires

21H ago Internal Revenue Service IRS 800.jpg

Woman arrested for holding black teens at gunpoint

The boys, who were raising money for their school football team, told police that the woman cursed at them and threatened to shoot them if they moved

3H ago 800.jpg ap6608010465.jpg

America's deadliest mass shootings

These are the deadliest mass shootings in American history

Aug 5 40 photos ap6608010465.jpg Subway Station Evacuated

Man taken into custody after rice cookers trigger bomb scare

Police have not identified the man but consider him a person of interest

5H ago Subway Station Evacuated Heather Locklear

Heather Locklear pleads no contest to fighting with first responders

A judge sentenced Heather Locklear to 120 days in jail, but the sentence was stayed pending completion of a substance-abuse treatment program

6H ago Heather Locklear jeffrey-epstein-03.png

Jeffrey Epstein's death ruled a suicide by hanging

Epstein, 66, was found dead in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City on Aug. 10

20H ago jeffrey-epstein-03.png 081619-lander.jpg

NASA picks Alabama space center for moon lander program

The lander is a critical element in NASA's plans to return astronauts to the moon in 2024

21H ago 081619-lander.jpg cbsn-fusion-milky-way-black-hole-emits-mysterious-light-flare-thumbnail-1912999-640x360.jpg

Milky Way black hole emits mysterious light flare

Scientists spot a flare of light coming from a black hole in the Milky Way. Syracuse University physics professor Duncan Brown explains to CBSN how the mysterious event may have occurred.

Aug 15 06:27 cbsn-fusion-milky-way-black-hole-emits-mysterious-light-flare-thumbnail-1912999-640x360.jpg 081419-dream3.jpg

Dream Chaser spaceplanes to launch on Vulcan rocket

Sierra Nevada Corp. picks ULA's Vulcan rocket to boost Dream Chaser spaceplanes into orbit

Aug 14 081419-dream3.jpg The supermassive black hole located 26,000 light years from Earth in the center of the Milky Way.

Our galaxy's black hole suddenly flashed a bright light

Scientists called the flashes "unprecedented"

Aug 15 The supermassive black hole located 26,000 light years from Earth in the center of the Milky Way. US-astronomy-meteor-Perseid

How to watch the Perseid meteor shower peak Monday night

Anyone trying to watch the Perseid meteor shower should try to stay away from bright city lights

Aug 12 US-astronomy-meteor-Perseid Ashley Ellerin, left, Tricia Pacaccio, center, and Maria Bruno.

Michael Gargiulo case: Stabbing deaths of three women linked to suspected serial killer

Investigators link murders of Tricia Pacaccio, Ashley Ellerin and Maria Bruno to same suspect: Michael Gargiulo

Aug 15 13 photos Ashley Ellerin, left, Tricia Pacaccio, center, and Maria Bruno.  1slide-the-worst-movies-of-2019-ranked.jpg

The worst movies of 2019

The worst films of the year star big name actors, including Keanu Reeves, Anne Hathaway, and Chris Hemsworth.

Aug 9 51 photos 1slide-the-worst-movies-of-2019-ranked.jpg jake-barlow-oddities-and-curiosities-expo-39.jpg

The Oddities & Curiosities Expo

A traveling exhibition of gothic and occult art, sideshow performers, and bizarre specimens stopped outside Chicago, where CBS News photographer Jake Barlow took in the odd sights

Jul 22 24 photos jake-barlow-oddities-and-curiosities-expo-39.jpg gettyimages-486106944.jpg

New York's Central Park

America's first major landscaped public park, the 840-acre park in Manhattan welcomes more than 37 million visitors every year

Jul 21 25 photos gettyimages-486106944.jpg Charles Manson

Manson Family murders: The terrifying story in pictures

A look at the cult slayings that shocked – and scared – America

Jul 3 44 photos Charles Manson cbsn-fusion-far-right-groups-hold-rally-in-portland-thumbnail-1914007-640x360.jpg

Popular

Far-right groups hold rally in Portland

A rally held by far right groups is underway in Portland. Police are bracing for violence as previous protests between the groups and counter protests have led to fights. CBS News' Jonathan Vigliotti and Shane Kavanaugh of The Oregonian join CBSN with the latest.

updated 28M ago 10:47 cbsn-fusion-far-right-groups-hold-rally-in-portland-thumbnail-1914007-640x360.jpg 0817-satmo-saturdaysessions-takethejourney-mollytuttle-1913933-640x360.jpg

Molly Tuttle performs "Take the Journey"

Singer-songwriter Molly Tuttle began playing guitar when she was eight. The California native joined her family band at 15, and then started a solo career, releasing her first album "When You're Ready" just this spring. In her national television debut, Tuttle performs three songs off the new album.

6H ago 02:53 0817-satmo-saturdaysessions-takethejourney-mollytuttle-1913933-640x360.jpg 0817-satmo-saturdaysessions-messedwithmymind-mollytuttle-1913940-640x360.jpg

Molly Tuttle performs "Messed With My Mind"

Singer-songwriter Molly Tuttle began playing guitar when she was eight. The California native joined her family band at 15, and then started a solo career, releasing her first album "When You're Ready" just this spring. In her national television debut, Tuttle performs three songs off the new album.

6H ago 03:34 0817-satmo-saturdaysessions-messedwithmymind-mollytuttle-1913940-640x360.jpg master-farming-climate-1920x1080notyt-1898130-640x360.jpg

A climate reckoning in the heartland

A historic flood in March 2019 left much of America's heartland under water. Grain farmers already struggling to bounce back from the Chinese trade war must now grapple with the realities of climate change that threaten to change the future of farming forever. Now, some farmers are implementing practices that could potentially reverse the effects of climate change – and provide a bigger profit. In this CBSN Originals documentary, Adam Yamaguchi travels to Nebraska, where he meets two farmers on different paths, both determined to pass their legacies on to the next generation.

Jul 26 23:07 master-farming-climate-1920x1080notyt-1898130-640x360.jpg 0817-satmo-saturdaysessions-lightcamein-mollytuttle-1913954-640x360.jpg

Molly Tuttle: Light Came In (Power Went Out)

Singer-songwriter Molly Tuttle began playing guitar when she was eight. The California native joined her family band at 15, and then started a solo career, releasing her first album "When You're Ready" just this spring. In her national television debut, Tuttle performs three songs off the new album.

5H ago 03:36 0817-satmo-saturdaysessions-lightcamein-mollytuttle-1913954-640x360.jpg