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Presidential Hopeful Tulsi Gabbard Once Decried 'Homosexual Extremists'

Tulsi Gabbard

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard's antigay past has resurfaced after her Friday announcement that she plans to run for president.

Over a decade ago, the Democratic politician, then a state representative, argued against a bill that would have legalized civil unions for same-sex couples in Hawaii. She also took aim at the "homosexual extremists" advocating for the issue, in a quotation that has been circulated on Twitter this weekend.

“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 testified in February 2004. “As Democrats, we should be representing the views of the people, not a small number of homosexual extremists.”

It was not the only time Gabbard decried "homosexual extremists." She used the phrase in a 2004 quotation in Honolulu Magazine to refer to perceived political opponents of her father, Mike Gabbard, who was running for Congress at the time.

Mike Gabbard was a prominent antigay activist in the Aloha state. He helmed The Alliance for Traditional Marriage, a political action committee that fought against marriage equality and other LGBTQ causes. The group also reportedly supported the discredited and harmful practice of "conversion therapy."

Tulsi Gabbard has represented Hawaii's second congressional district since 2013, when she became the first Hindu member of the U.S. Congress. Now 37, she openly supports LGBTQ causes, including marriage equality. In 2017, Gabbard supported the Equality Act, which would have banned workplace discrimination for LGBTQ Americans. She is also a member of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus.

Notably, the Human Rights Campaign awarded Gabbard a perfect score on its congressional scorecard, which measures politicians' support of LGBTQ causes.

However, many on social media won't easily forget Gabbard's antigay past. And the congresswoman has not yet responded to these troubling, resurfaced views.

As one user quipped in response, "She is definitely not hosting the Oscars," a reference to the comedian Kevin Hart, who recently faced a similar reckoning of homophobic remarks from his past.

Tags: Politics, Hawaii

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