Presidential hopeful Tulsi Gabbard defended by gay lawmaker over LGBT views

US representative Tulsi Gabbard

Gay New York congressman Sean Patrick Maloney has urged LGBT+ people to forgive US presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard, who is under fire for her history of anti-LGBT conduct.

Maloney spoke out to defend Gabbard, the US Representative for Hawaii’s 2nd congressional district, whose long anti-LGBT history came to light after she announced plans to run for the Democratic nomination in the 2020 presidential election.

In a statement, Maloney said that while Gabbard “started out in wrong place” she has “been a solid friend in Congress.”

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, who defended Tulsi Gabbard

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) speaks at a press conference introducing a bill providing members of the LGBT community with comprehensive federal protections on Capitol Hill May 2, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty)

Maloney, who was New York’s first openly gay congressman, added: “I also understand how important it is that we encourage people to admit their error, grow and evolve, as much of the country has done over the last two decades.

“That is exactly what Tulsi Gabbard has done. She recognized the fault in her past views and the pain she was causing, and she has apologized. She admitted her error and has become a strong ally and close friend in Congress.”

Tulsi Gabbard compared gay weddings to incest and bestiality

Gabbard previously campaigned for an amendment to Hawaii’s constitution banning same-sex marriage.

A young Gabbard also starred in an ad in the early 2000s comparing gay weddings to incest and bestiality, opposing gay weddings because “I can’t marry my sister or my brother.”

The ad was for the Alliance For Traditional Marriage, a Hawaii anti-LGBT lobbying group run by her father, state senator Mike Gabbard.

CNN’s KFile reported on January 13 that Tulsi Gabbard had worked for the group, which also went by the name Stop Promoting Homosexuality.

Tulsi Gabbard says her views have changed

In her initial statement, Tulsi Gabbard said: “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.

“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.”

The Democratic Presidential field is likely to be crowded, with several candidates already throwing their hats in the ring.