- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 17, 2019

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard issued an apology video Thursday after her past opposition to same-sex marriage and history of anti-gay activism resurfaced following her announcement last week that she’ll seek the Democratic Party’s nomination in the 2020 presidential election.

“In my past, I said and believed things that were wrong, and worse, they were very hurtful to people in the LGBTQ community and to their loved ones,” Mrs. Gabbard, Hawaii Democrat, said in her video posted to YouTube. “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.”

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 Hawaii state legislature in 2002. At the time, she spoke highly of her father, a prominent anti-gay activist who once described homosexuality as “unhealthy, abnormal behavior that should not be promoted or accepted in society.”

In 2004, Mrs. Gabbard 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,” CNN reported. In 2012, she apologized for her “very divisive and even disrespectful” statements. She also apologized Sunday in a statement responding to CNN’s report.

In her video Thursday, Mrs. Gabbard explained that she grew up in a “socially conservative household” and was taught that marriage should only be between a man and a woman.

“My father was very outspoken,” she said. “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, I formed my own opinions based on my life experience that changed my views at a personal level in truly having aloha — love for all people — and ensuring that every American, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, is treated equally under the law.”

Mrs. Gabbard also touted her record in Congress as showing a “strong and ongoing commitment to fighting for LGBTQ rights.”

“When we deny LGBT people the basic rights that exist for every American, we’re denying their humanity, denying that they are equal, and we’re also creating a dangerous environment that breeds discrimination and violence,” she said in her video. “Because when we divide people based on who they are or who they love, all we’re doing is adding fuel to the flames that perpetuate bigotry and hatred.”

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