Openly gay lawmaker defends Gabbard over past LGBT comments

Openly gay lawmaker defends Gabbard over past LGBT comments
© Greg Nash

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday credited Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardThe Hill's Morning Report - Diplomats kick off public evidence about Trump, Ukraine Outsider candidates outpoll insider candidates Krystal Ball: Tulsi Gabbard surges, is she the most electable? MORE (D-Hawaii) for her evolving views on gay rights after the congresswoman and presidential candidate said she regrets her past stances on the issue.

Maloney, who is openly gay, said in a statement that he's experienced discrimination first-hand, and argued those who work against equality "carry that stain and must be held accountable.”

"But 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," he said. "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."

ADVERTISEMENT

Maloney called Gabbard a "strong ally and close friend in Congress," and said the LGBTQ community should “not confuse forgiveness with weakness nor substitute recrimination for healing.”

Gabbard, who last week announced her plans to run for president in 2020, previously worked for an anti-LGBTQ organization run by her father and opposed the expansion of LGBTQ rights during her time in the Hawaii state legislature.

CNN reported that she testified in opposition to a civil union bill in 2004, saying that Democrats "should be representing the views of the people, not a small number of homosexual extremists."

Gabbard said in response to the CNN report that she regrets her past views and votes, and highlighted her track record since joining Congress of supporting LGBTQ rights.

"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," she said.