(BIVN) – Less than a week after U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard confirmed she would be running for President of the United States in 2020, the Democratic Congresswoman from Hawaiʻi has posted her first video apology to social media.
In a vertically-framed, cell phone style video recorded with a snowy backdrop, Rep. Gabbard voiced her regret “for past offensive and hurtful statements” and expressed “her commitment to remaining a strong ally” of the LGBTQ+ community.
Her past work for the Alliance for Traditional Marriage, a group run by her father, State Senator Mike Gabbard, that opposed same-sex marriage in Hawaiʻi, drew renewed criticism in the days following her announcement that she would be setting her sights on the Oval Office.
Here is the transcript from Gabbard’s video:
Aloha. In my past I said and believed things that were wrong, and worse, hurtful to 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 now.
I know that LGBTQ people still struggle. They’re still facing discrimination, still facing abuse, and still fear that hard-won rights are going to be taken away by people who hold views like I used to.
That cannot happen, because every 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, serving in uniform, trying to get health care, taking care of their family, or looking for a home.
Now, I grew up knowing that every person is a child of God, and equally loved by God. And I’ve 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. So, 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’s a little different because my father was very outspoken. He was an activist who was fighting against gay rights and marriage equality in Hawaiʻi, 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 experiences, that significantly changed my views, at a very personal level, and 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 my 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 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, 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.
Now, I’m so grateful to my friends my loved ones, both gay and straight, who have 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 that I played in causing such pain, and I remain committed to fighting for LGBT equality.