Valedictorian Matt Easton came out gay during his commencement speech at Brigham Young University, which is owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) and prohibits students from engaging in “homosexual behavior.”

“I have felt another triumph; that of coming to terms, not with who I thought I should be, but who the Lord has made me to be. As such, I stand before the Lord, my family, my graduating class today to say that I am proud to be a gay son of God,” Easton, 24, said in his speech to the school's College of Family, Home and Social Science.

In a series of tweets posted after the ceremony, Easton explained that he had already come out to close friends and family.

“During my time at BYU, I have slowly come out to my closest family members and friends. However, this is the first time I have publicly declared it. I felt it was important to share both for myself and for the LGBTQ+ community at BYU,” Easton wrote. “While I don’t speak for everyone – my own experience is all I can vouch for – I hope that people know that we ARE here at BYU, and we’re not going anywhere anytime soon.”

While gay students are allowed to attend BYU, the university's Honor Code declares “homosexual behavior” as “inappropriate” and prohibited. This includes “all forms of physical intimacy that give expression to homosexual feelings.”

The LDS Church has been a vocal opponent of same-sex marriage.

In an interview with KUTV-TV, Easton said he was overwhelmed by the response to his speech.

“I just felt more support from such a large body than I've ever felt before. And I think that everyone deserves to have that feeling,” he said.