Gabbard responded by saying her views have evolved and her LGBTQ support has grown during her time in Congress.
Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard barely finished announcing she is running for president in 2020 when the spotlight quickly shifted to anti-gay comments and actions from her past.
Gabbard, a 37-year-old Democratic lawmaker from Hawaii, is known for being politically unpredictable, something she has publicly said she takes pride in. But some of her most fiery remarks against same-sex marriage in years past, as well as her active campaign to promote “traditional marriage” legislation, have drawn closer scrutiny since her announcement Friday.
In years past, she several times referred to LGBTQ activists as “homosexual extremists,” a view that echoes that of her father, Mike Gabbard, whom a New Yorker profile of the congresswoman described as having long been “Hawaii’s leading opponent of the gay-rights movement, an energetic and often brusque activist who stood ever ready to denounce what he called ‘the radical homosexual agenda.’”
Gabbard was a visible force against same-sex marriage, and in 2004 spearheaded a fight in the state against a same-sex union measure. “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,” she said at the time. “As Democrats, we should be representing the views of the people, not a small number of homosexual extremists.”