Maui News

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Releases Apology Video, Clarifies LGBTQ Stance

January 18, 2019, 6:31 AM HST
* Updated January 18, 6:40 AM
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US Representative Tulsi Gabbard on Thursday released a public video voicing her regret for past offensive and hurtful statements against the gay community.  In her four-minute long Youtube video, Gabbard explains that her views have changed significantly since her words many years ago, and asks those listening to look at her record in Congress over the past six years, saying it reflects what is in her heart.

Today, Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, the first and only openly gay member of Congress from New York, released a statement regarding Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s record on LGBTQ rights.

“I know what it feels like to be on the receiving end of anti-LGBTQ discrimination directed against me, my family and our community. Those who have worked actively against equality carry that stain and must be held accountable.

“But I also understand how important it is that we encourage people to admit their error, grow and evolve, as much of the country has done over the last two decades. That is exactly what Tulsi Gabbard has done. She recognized the fault in her past views and the pain she was causing, and she has apologized. She admitted her error and has become a strong ally and close friend in Congress.

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“Forgiving our former opponents when they stand with us spreads love and builds our strength. As a community, LGBTQ people should not confuse forgiveness with weakness nor substitute recrimination for healing,” said Congressman Maloney, who has not made an endorsement in the 2020 presidential race.

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Tulsi Gabbard is a Democrat who was first elected to Congress in 2012 to serve the people of Hawaiʻi.

Prior to her time in Congress, Gabbard had aligned herself with her father then Senator Mike Gabbard, expressing support in the early 2000’s for a constitutional amendment to protect traditional marriage.

She is currently a member of the Committees on Foreign Affairs and Armed Services. She served two deployments to the Middle East, and continues to serve as a Major in the Army National Guard.

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Congresswoman Gabbard was Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee from 2013 until she resigned in 2016 to support Bernie Sanders in his bid for President.

Tulsi Gabbard announced her intention to run for President of the United States just last week on Jan. 11, 2019.

Below is the full text from Rep. Gabbard’s statement:

“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.

“Many years ago, I apologized for my words and, more importantly, for the negative impact that they had. I sincerely repeat my apology today. I’m deeply sorry for having said them. My views have changed significantly since then, and my record in Congress over the last 6 years reflects what is in my heart: A strong and ongoing commitment to fighting for LGBTQ+ rights.

“I know that LGBTQ+ people still struggle, are still facing discrimination, are still facing abuse and still fear that their hard-won rights are going to be taken away by people who hold views like I used to. That cannot happen, because every single American deserves to be treated equally – by their fellow Americans and under the law. I will continue to fight for LGBTQ+ people, whether they’re in school or serving in uniform, trying to get healthcare, taking care of their family, or looking for a home.

“I grew up knowing that every person is a child of God, and equally loved by God. 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. For a period of my life I didn’t see the contradiction in those beliefs.

“While many Americans may be able to relate to growing up in a conservative home, my story is a little different because my father was very outspoken. He was an activist who was fighting against gay rights and marriage equality in Hawaii – and at that time, I forcefully defended him and his cause. But over the years as I grew up, I formed my own opinions based on my life experience that significantly changed my views — at a very personal level in truly having aloha, love, for all people, and making sure that every American, regardless of sexual orientation, is treated equally under the law.

“I look forward to being able to share more of my story and experiences growing up – not as an excuse – but in the hopes that it may inspire others to truly live aloha; to love and care for others.

“When we deny LGBTQ people the basic rights that exist for every American, we are denying their humanity – denying that they are equal. We are also creating a dangerous environment that breeds discrimination and violence. When we divide people based on who they are or who they love, all we are doing is adding fuel the flames that perpetuate bigotry and hatred.

“I’m so grateful to my friends and loved ones, both gay and straight, who patiently helped me see how my past positions on these issues were at odds with my values, my aloha, and that they were causing people harm. I regret the role I played in causing such pain, and I remain committed to fight for LGBTQ equality.”

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