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Tulsi Gabbard apologizes for previous remarks about LGBTQ people

Castro, Gabbard join list of 2020 candidates
Castro, Gabbard join list of 2020 candidates 12:02

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, posted a video to Twitter Thursday apologizing for her previous remarks about LGBTQ issues, as those comments have plagued her newly launched presidential candidacy.

As a 21-year-old running for the Hawaii state legislature in 2002, Gabbard boasted about supporting her father, an anti-gay activist, in his effort to promote the constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage passed in 1998. After her election, she continued to espouse anti-gay views. In 2004, she opposed a bill legalizing civil unions.

"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 said at the time, according to CNN's KFile. "As Democrats we should be representing the views of the people, not a small number of homosexual extremists."

Gabbard apologized to LGBTQ activists in the state when running for Congress in 2012. Since entering Congress, she has supported a number of bills promoting LGBTQ equality. She has said that her initial views reflected her socially conservative upbringing.

"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," Gabbard said in the video posted to Twitter Thursday. She said that she was "sincerely" repeating her apology from 2012. "My record in Congress over the past six years reflects what is in my heart," Gabbard added.

"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," Gabbard said. "But over the years, as I grew up, I formed my own opinions, based on my life experiences."

Gabbard also said that she hoped her change of heart could inspire other people who may hold anti-gay views.

"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," Gabbard said.

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