Missouri GOP candidate for governor: I was gay until ‘religious experience’ saved me
Amanda and Bob Dixon election commercial - YouTube screenshot

A Republican Missouri state senator threw his hat into the ring on Monday, announcing his run  for the governorship by citing -- among other things -- his "23 years as a strong supporter of traditional marriage."

According to the Riverfront Times, what State Senator Bob Dixon didn't mention at his press conference was that he lived his life as a gay man for five years before having a "religious experience" in October, 1988.

Dixon had previously discussed his earlier sexual orientation at a Springfield city council meeting in 1991 without describing the specifics of the religious experience that set him off on a different path. Since that time he has married a woman, had three kids and served as a Missouri lawmaker for 15 years.

"It is my faith in God that helps me to daily set the compass," Dixon said during his announcement. "I hope the people of Missouri will accept my record of service as a reflection of my faith in the Almighty, because that frankly is at the core of what I do."

According to Dixon's mother, Jean Dixon , she waged a battle as a lawmaker against Missouri State University's 1989 production of the AIDS drama The Normal Heart in part because of her son's homosexuality.

Dixon said her son attempted suicide prior to his gay conversion, while admitting that -- for her -- it was difficult to accept his homosexual lifestyle.

"It had been a heartache I had to deal with, and it was a tough one," Jean Dixon explained.

In his first ad, Dixon describes himself as a "Grandson of Democrats, son of Republicans, and lover of liberty."

Speaking with the Riverfront Times, Dixon did not deny his 1991 comments, and said that he would issue a statement at a later time.

Watch Bob Dixon's first ad as a candidate below, uploaded to YouTube: