Democratic presidential hopeful Rep. Tulsi Gabbard issued a video apology to the LGBTQ community on Thursday, after a CNN report revealing that in the early 2000s she had touted working for her father’s anti-gay organization.
“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,” said Gabbard, a Hawaii Democrat.
She continued, “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.”
CNN’s KFile reported earlier this week that Gabbard had told the Honolulu Star-Bulletin in 2002, “Working with my father, Mike Gabbard, and others to pass a constitutional amendment to protect traditional marriage, I learned that real leaders are willing to make personal sacrifices for the common good. I will bring that attitude of public service to the Legislature.”
Gabbard’s father ran The Alliance for Traditional Marriage, a political action committee aimed at opposing pro-gay lawmakers and legislation that organized and spent more than $100,000 to pass an amendment in 1998 that gave the Hawaii state Legislature the power to “reserve marriage to opposite-sex couples.” The amendment to the state’s constitution passed.
Following the report, Gabbard issued a statement to CNN saying, “First, let me say I regret the positions I took in the past, and the things I said. I’m grateful for those in the LGBTQ+ community who have shared their aloha with me throughout my personal journey.”
She added, “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. 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.”
CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski contributed to this report.