Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s antigay past has resurfaced after her announcement last week that she plans to run for president.
Over a decade ago, the then-state representative argued against a bill that would have legalized civil unions for same-sex couples in Hawaii.
“To try to act as if there is a difference between ‘civil unions’ and same-sex marriage is dishonest, cowardly and extremely disrespectful to the people of Hawaii,” Gabbard testified in February 2004. “As Democrats, we should be representing the views of the people, not a small number of homosexual extremists.”
Over a decade later, Gabbard issued a lengthy apology on Thursday for her past comments and stances about LGBTQ issues.
The congresswoman shared a roughly four-minute video in which she explained her shift in views on gay rights, and expressed regret for previously holding beliefs she described as “wrong” and “hurtful.”
“I grew up knowing that every person is a child of God, and equally loved by God,” she said. “I have always believed in the fundamental rights and equality of all people.
“But I also grew up in a socially conservative household, where I was raised to believe that marriage should only be between a man and a woman,” she continued. “For a period of my life I didn’t see the contradiction in those beliefs.
Aloha. In my past, I said and believed things that were wrong, and worse, hurtful to people in the LGBTQ+ community and their loved ones. I’m deeply sorry for having said and believed them. https://t.co/BWlOBk9ZnN
— Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) January 17, 2019
Gabbard also previously worked for an anti-LGBTQ organization run by her father.
In her statement Thursday, she acknowledged that her father was “very outspoken” in his opposition to gay rights, and that she “forcefully defended him” in the past.
“But over the years, I formed my own opinions based on my life experience that changed my views – at a personal level in having aloha, love, for all people, and ensuring that every American, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, is treated equally under the law,” she said.