Closet door bustdown

Christian author says ending his marriage is “necessary because I am gay”

 

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Christian author Matthew Paul Turner made a big announcement over the weekend. He and his wife of nearly 20 years, Jessica, are getting a divorce. Also, he’s gay.

“Dear friends, I have difficult news to share,” the 44-year-old wrote on Facebook. “After much thought, prayer, and counseling, Jessica and I have made the decision to end our marriage.”

“While we’re best friends and thoroughly love doing life, parenting, and pursuing our dreams together, ending our marriage is necessary because I am gay.”

Turner, who supported Elizabeth Warren in the 2020 Democratic primaries and whose children’s books include When God Made You and When God Made Light, went on to explain that he’s long known he was gay, but spending over three decades in fundamentalist/evangelical churches forced him to keep his true feelings buried.

“I’ve lived many days overwhelmed by fear, shame, and self-hatred,” he added. “Though my own faith evolved long ago to become LGBTQ+ affirming, my journey toward recognizing, accepting and embracing myself took much longer.”

Turner then thanked Jessica, to whom he was married for 17 years and shares three children, for her support.

“I would not be able to say that without Jessica’s undying grace and support. I fell in love with her 17 years ago and still love her deeply. Despite her own grief and pain, she has loved and encouraged me to be fully me.”

Turner also shared the news with his 21,000 followers on Instagram.

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I have difficult news to share. After much thought, prayer, and counseling, Jessica and I have made the decision to end our marriage. While we’re best friends and thoroughly love doing life, parenting, and pursuing our dreams together, ending our marriage is necessary because I am gay. ?? Being gay isn’t a new discovery for me. However, as someone who spent 30+ years in fundamentalist/evangelical churches, exploring God through conservative theologies, I lived many days overwhelmed by fear, shame, and self-hatred. Though my own faith evolved long ago to become LGBTQ+ affirming, my journey toward recognizing, accepting and embracing myself took much longer. But for the first time in my life, despite the sadness and grief I’m feeling right now, I can say with confidence that I’m ready to embrace freedom, hope, and God as a gay man. ?? I would not be able to say that without Jessica’s undying grace and support. I fell in love with her 17 years ago and still love her deeply. Despite her own grief and pain, she has loved and encouraged me to be fully me. Many of the steps I’ve taken recently wouldn’t have happened without Jessica walking beside me, helping me through every fear. Jessica is and will always be my hero. She’s brave, strong and showcases love like nobody I know. ?? Our utmost desire is to move forward in love and compassion for each other and put the well-being of our kids first. Coming out to my kids was one of the hardest, most beautiful things I’ve ever done. Loving and protecting their stories will always be our first priority. ?? I will continue to write children’s books and am grateful for the support of my publisher Convergent Books. Writing books about wholeness, hope, and God’s love for children is an honor and privilege I do not take for granted. ?? That said, we ask that you be kind and respectful toward us. Anyone who posts comments laced in shame, criticism of our family, our theology, or our choices will be blocked. ?? Throughout these hard months, Jessica and I have looked at each other many times and said, “we’re going to be okay.” And on most days, we fully believe that. Please keep us in your thoughts/prayers as we engage this new path.

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In her own statement, Jessica said: “My husband, my best friend has bravely shared his deepest truth this past year. He is gay. While this doesn’t change how much we love him, it does change our relationship. We are moving forward with ending our marriage, while remaining deeply committed to our family and each other.”

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Posted by The Mom Creative / Jessica N. Turner on Friday, July 17, 2020