- The Washington Times - Monday, January 14, 2019

Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who announced Friday that she will seek the Democratic Party’s nomination in the 2020 presidential election, is facing scrutiny after her past opposition to same-sex marriage and history of anti-gay activism resurfaced over the weekend.

CNN reported Sunday that Mrs. Gabbard worked for her father’s anti-gay political action committee, The Alliance for Traditional Marriage, before her run for the state legislature in 2002. At the time, she spoke highly of her father, a prominent anti-gay activist, for working with state legislators “to pass a constitutional amendment to protect traditional marriage” in 1998, CNN reported.

Mrs. Gabbard’s father, Mike Gabbard, in 1998 described homosexuality as “unhealthy, abnormal behavior that should not be promoted or accepted in society.” His now-defunct committee supported the use of anti-gay conversion therapy, which is now banned for use on minors in 14 states and D.C., including Hawaii, CNN reported.

Mrs. Gabbard was also quoted in a 2000 press release from The Alliance for Traditional Marriage, in which she criticized “homosexual activists” for opposing her mother Carol’s bid for the state’s board of education and trying to “force their values down the throats of the children in our schools,” CNN reported.

In 2004, she openly opposed a bill to allow civil unions for gay couples, saying Democrats should be “representing the views of the people, not a small number of homosexual extremists.”

Mrs. Gabbard, who now fully supports same-sex marriage and has since backed other pro-LGBT legislation, apologized in 2012 for her “very divisive and even disrespectful” statements concerning the LGBT community.

On Sunday, Mrs. Gabbard again expressed remorse for her past comments and affirmed her commitment to promoting equal rights.

“First, let me say I regret the positions I took in the past, and the things I said,” she told CNN. “I’m grateful for those in the LGBTQ+ community who have shared their aloha with me throughout my personal journey.

“Over the past six years in Congress, I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to help work toward passing legislation that ensures equal rights and protections on LGBTQ+ issues, such as the Equality Act, the repeal of DOMA, Restore Honor to Service members Act, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, the Safe Schools Improvement Act and the Equality for All Resolution,” she said. “Much work remains to ensure equality and civil rights protections for LGBTQ+ Americans and if elected president, I will continue to fight for equal rights for all.”

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