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Tulsi Gabbard on Civil Rights

 

 


My time in the military changed my anti-gay views

Gabbard sought to explain her shift from advocating anti-gay policies in the early 2000s, saying her time in the military caused her to "go through some soul-searching."

"I was raised in a very socially conservative home. My father is Catholic, he was a leading voice against gay marriage in Hawaii at that time. Again, I was very young, but these are the values and beliefs that I grew up around," she said.

Gabbard said her views shifted when she deployed to the Middle East, "where I saw firsthand the negative impact of a government attempting to act as a moral arbiter for their people, dictating in the most personal ways how they must live their lives."

"Race or religion or orientation, these were things that didn't matter, because we were focused on our mission of serving," she said.

Source: CNN KFile on 2019 SXSW conference in Austin , Mar 11, 2019

I never personally supported gay conversion therapy

CNN's KFile previously reported that Gabbard's father led an anti-gay organization that advocated for conversion therapy. She touted her involvement in the group during a state legislative run. But now, Gabbard said she "personally never supported any kind of conversion therapy. I never advocated for conversion therapy. And frankly, I didn't even know what conversion therapy was until the last few years."
Source: CNN KFile on 2019 SXSW conference in Austin , Mar 11, 2019

Must lead in condemning bigotry, regardless of belief

As a practicing Hindu, I have been on the receiving end of Hindu- phobia and bigoted attacks. The first time I ran for Congress in 2012, my Republican opponent said I was not qualified because my being a Hindu contradicted the Constitution. Attacks against Christians, Muslims, Jews, atheists, people of all different religions cannot be allowed to stand. And what is most important is to lead from the front. I will do that in calling out and condemning those bigoted attacks.
Source: CNN Town Hall on 2020 Democratic presidential primary , Mar 10, 2019

Supports gay rights, 100% record with Human Rights Campaign

I served with gay and lesbian and trans servicemembers. We became very good friends and knew in the most deep and visceral way that I would give my life for any one of them. And they would do the same for me. I ask you to look to my record in Congress now for over six years. I have 100 percent legislative rating from the Human Rights Campaign that reflects on a whole variety of issues and pieces of legislation.
Source: CNN Town Hall on 2020 Democratic presidential primary , Mar 10, 2019

Views on LGBT rights evolved; 100% rating from HRC

Q: Let's talk about your record on LGBT rights. You spent years opposing LGBT rights?

A: I was raised in a socially conservative household with views and beliefs and things that I no longer hold today. My views have evolved, to the point where now you can look to my record over the last six years in Congress that reflect what's in my heart and my commitment to fighting for equality, my commitment to fighting for LGBT rights. I have a 100 percent legislative voting record with the Human Rights Campaign. I'm a member of the Equality Caucus, and, again, look forward to continuing to recognize the work that still must be done towards equality and working to make that change happen.

Source: CNN 2019 "State of the Union" on 2020 Presidential hopefuls , Jan 20, 2019

Regrets past anti-gay statements; now pro-LGBTQ+ rights

Gabbard said in a recent CNN interview that she will seek her party's nomination for president in 2020. Her past views and activism in opposition to LGBT rights in the late 90s and early 2000s, which put her out of step with most of the Democratic Party at the time, have come under more intense scrutiny since her announcement.

Although Gabbard's positions on LGBT rights have shifted dramatically in more recent years (she signed a 2013 amicus brief supporting a challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act), the extent of Gabbard's past anti-gay activism has already drawn criticism from prominent Democrats and will likely be a major issue for her as she seeks the party's nomination.

In a statement to CNN provided after the initial publication of this story, 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."

Source: Andrew Kaczynski, CNN.com, on 2020 presidential hopefuls , Jan 13, 2019

2002: Amend Constitution to protect traditional marriage

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard in the early 2000s touted working for her father's anti-gay organization. During her run for state legislature in 2002, Gabbard said, "Working with my father, Mike Gabbard, and others to pass a constitutional amendment to protect traditional marriage, I learned that real leaders are willing to make personal sacrifices for the common good." The quote, which CNN's KFile found during a review of Gabbard's early career, shows how closely she aligned herself with her father's mission at the time.

Gabbard's father ran The Alliance for Traditional Marriage, a political action committee aimed at opposing pro-gay lawmakers and to pass an amendment in 1998 that gave the Hawaii state legislature power to "reserve marriage to opposite- sex couples." The amendment to the state's constitution passed.

Gabbard was 17 at the time of the vote and cited working with her father and the organization during her run for the state legislature in Hawaii four years later when she was age 21.

Source: Andrew Kaczynski, CNN.com, on 2020 presidential hopefuls , Jan 13, 2019

2004: We shouldn't represent views of homosexual extremists

[A CNN KFile review shows that] Rep. Tulsi Gabbard's anti-gay efforts continued after she became a state representative. Shortly after Gabbard announced her presidential ambitions, her testimony at a hearing opposing a civil unions bill in 2004 resurfaced:

"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 said at the time. "As Democrats we should be representing the views of the people, not a small number of homosexual extremists."

The resurfaced comments drew condemnation from former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, the first governor in America to support civil unions and who sought the Democratic nomination in 2004. "I was on the other side of this argument wearing a bulletproof vest while she was saying this," Dean tweeted.

Source: Andrew Kaczynski, CNN.com, on 2020 presidential hopefuls , Jan 13, 2019

2012: Apologized for anti-LGBT past; pro-LGBT bills now

In 2012, when running for Congress, Gabbard apologized to LGBT activists in Hawaii for her past comments. "I want to apologize for statements that I have made in the past that have been very divisive and even disrespectful to those within the LGBT community," Gabbard said. "I know that those comments have been hurtful and I sincerely offer my apology to you and hope that you will accept it."

Since joining Congress in 2013, Gabbard has supported efforts to promote LGBT equality, including co-sponsoring pro-LGBT legislation like The Equality Act, a bill to amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to protect LGBT individuals.

"I grew up in a very kind of conservative household. A multi-ethnic, multi-racial, multi-faith home," Gabbard said in New Hampshire in December 2018, speaking to her shift. "Diverse in our makeup and diverse in our views. And I held views growing up that I no longer hold."

Source: Andrew Kaczynski, CNN.com, on 2020 presidential hopefuls , Jan 13, 2019

Against gay marriage but no government morality

Her state Democratic Party LGBT caucus openly distrusts her and backed her primary opponent in 2016. When questioned why, the chairman cited two things. One was her less-than-stellar answers to a questionnaire they had sent. The other was a 2015 interview with Ozy, in which she confirmed that her personal views on gay marriage and abortion hadn't changed, just her view on whether the government should enforce its vision of morality. In 2013, the caucus asked Gabbard to send someone to testify at the legislative special session on same-sex marriage, only to be told that Gabbard "doesn't get involved in state politics." Gabbard's Hawaiian colleagues in Congress all sent a representative to testify in support. Gabbard does not actively work against gay rights. She's cosponsored and supported numerous bills favoring the LGBT community, from the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
Source: Jacobin Mag., "Not your friend": 2020 presidential hopefuls , May 27, 2017

Voted YES on reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act.

Congressional Summary:
    Amends the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA) to add or expand definitions of several terms used in such Act, including :
  1. "culturally specific services" to mean community-based services that offer culturally relevant and linguistically specific services and resources to culturally specific communities;
  2. "personally identifying information" with respect to a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking;
  3. "underserved populations" as populations that face barriers in accessing and using victim services because of geographic location, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity; and
  4. "youth" to mean a person who is 11 to 24 years old.

Opponent's Argument for voting No (The Week; Huffington Post, and The Atlantic): House Republicans had objected to provisions in the Senate bill that extended VAWA's protections to lesbians, gays, immigrants, and Native Americans. For example, Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH) voted against the VAWA bill because it was a "politically–motivated, constitutionally-dubious Senate version bent on dividing women into categories by race, transgender politics and sexual preference." The objections can be grouped in two broadly ideological areas--that the law is an unnecessary overreach by the federal government, and that it represents a "feminist" attack on family values. The act's grants have encouraged states to implement "mandatory-arrest" policies, under which police responding to domestic-violence calls are required to make an arrest. These policies were intended to combat the too-common situation in which a victim is intimidated into recanting an abuse accusation. Critics also say VAWA has been subject to waste, fraud, and abuse because of insufficient oversight.

Reference: Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act; Bill H.R.11 ; vote number 13-HV055 on Feb 28, 2013

Endorsed by The Feminist Majority indicating a pro-women's rights stance.

Gabbard is endorsed by by the Feminist Majority on women's rights

The Feminist Majority endorses candidates for the U.S. House and U.S. Senate. In addition to the stronger "endorsement," the organization also determines "preferred" candidates in races where they do not endorse. Their mission statement:

"Our mission is to empower feminists, who are the majority, and to win equality for women at the decision-making tables of the state, nation, and the world. The Feminist Majority promotes non-discrimination on the basis of sex, race, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, religion, ethnicity, age, marital status, nation of origin, size or disability. The purpose of Feminist Majority is to promote equality for women and men, non-violence, reproductive health, peace, social justice and economic development and to enhance feminist participation in public policy. Feminist Majority supports workers’ collective bargaining, pay equity, and end of sweatshops. We encourage programs directed at the preservation of the environment."

Source: FeministMajority.org website 12-FemMaj on Oct 31, 2012

Supports same-sex marriage.

Gabbard supports the PVS survey question on same-sex marriage

Project Vote Smart infers candidate issue stances on key topics by summarizing public speeches and public statements. Congressional candidates are given the opportunity to respond in detail; about 11% did so in the 2012 races.

Project Vote Smart summarizes candidate stances on the following topic: 'Marriage: Do you support same-sex marriage?'

Source: Project Vote Smart 12-PVS-q3 on Aug 30, 2012

Enforce against wage discrimination based on gender.

Gabbard co-sponsored Paycheck Fairness Act

    Congress finds the following:
  1. Women have entered the workforce in record numbers over the past 50 years.
  2. Despite the enactment of the Equal Pay Act in 1963, many women continue to earn significantly lower pay than men for equal work. These pay disparities exist in both the private and governmental sectors. In many instances, the pay disparities can only be due to continued intentional discrimination or the lingering effects of past discrimination.
  3. The existence of such pay disparities depresses the wages of working families who rely on the wages of all members of the family to make ends meet; and undermines women's retirement security.
  4. Artificial barriers to the elimination of discrimination in the payment of wages on the basis of sex continue to exist decades after the enactment of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. These barriers have resulted because the Equal Pay Act has not worked as Congress originally intended.
  5. The Department of Labor and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission have important and unique responsibilities to help ensure that women receive equal pay for equal work.
  6. The Department of Labor is responsible for investigating and prosecuting equal pay violations, especially systemic violations, and in enforcing all of its mandates.
  7. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is the primary enforcement agency for claims made under the Equal Pay Act.
  8. With a stronger commitment [to enforcement], increased information on wage data and more effective remedies, women will be better able to recognize and enforce their rights.
  9. Certain employers have already made great strides in eradicating unfair pay disparities in the workplace and their achievements should be recognized.
Source: S.84&H.R.377 13-HR0377 on Jan 23, 2013

Don't elevate gender identity as a protected class.

Gabbard voted YEA H.Amdt. 1128 to H.R. 5055

Heritage Action Summary: The Maloney Amendment would ratify President Obama's 2014 executive order barring federal contractors from what it describes as "discrimination" on the basis of "sexual orientation and gender identity" in their private employment policies. In practice, it would have required federal contractors to grant biologically male employees who identify as women unfettered access to women's lockers, showers, and bathrooms.

Heritage Foundation recommendation to vote NO: (5/25/2016): Congress should not be elevating sexual orientation and gender identity as a protected class garnering special legal privileges, which is the intent of the Maloney Amendment. The Maloney Amendment constitutes bad policy that unnecessarily regulates businesses. It risks undoing longstanding protections in civil rights law and makes clear that the president's orders are not exempt from them.

ACLU recommendation to vote YES: (5/11/2016): We see today claims to a right to discriminate--by refusing to provide services to LGBT people--based on religious objections. Claiming a right to discriminate in the name of religion is not new. In the 1960s, we saw objections to laws requiring integration in restaurants because of sincerely held beliefs that God wanted the races to be separate. We saw religiously affiliated universities refuse to admit students who engaged in interracial dating. In those cases, we recognized that requiring integration was not about violating religious liberty; it was about ensuring fairness. It's no different today.

Religious freedom in America means that we all have a right to our religious beliefs, but this does not give us the right to use our religion to impose those beliefs on others.

Legislative outcome: Amendment passed by the House 223-195-15 4/26/16; overall bill H.R.5055 failed 112-305-16 on 5/26/2016

Source: Supreme Court case 16-H5055 argued on May 25, 2016

Let states recognize same sex marriage.

Gabbard signed Respect for Marriage Act

Congressional Summary: Amends the Defense of Marriage Act to let states recognize same sex marriage. Defines "marriage" to provide that an individual shall be considered married if that individual's marriage is valid in the state or country where the marriage was entered into. Removes the definition of "spouse" (currently, a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife).

Wikipedia and GLAAD history: In United States v. Windsor (2013), the U.S. Supreme Court declared Section 3 of DOMA unconstitutional under the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment. Obergefell v. Hodges (2015) struck down the act's provisions disallowing same-sex marriages to be performed under federal jurisdiction. The Supreme Court case did not challenge Section 2 of DOMA. Section 2 declares that all states have the right to deny recognition of the marriage of same sex couples that originated in states where they are legally recognized.

Heritage Foundation recommendation to vote NO: (3/20/2013): Americans respect marriage, not only as a crucial institution of civil society but the fundamental building block of all human civilization. This is why 41 states and the federal government affirm that marriage is between a man and a woman. The government isn't in the business of affirming our loves. Rather it leaves consenting adults free to live and love as they choose. And contrary to what some say, there is no ban on same-sex marriage. In all 50 states, two people of the same sex may choose to live together, and choose to join a religious community that blesses their relationship. What's at issue is whether the government will recognize such relationships as marriages--and compel others to recognize and affirm same-sex relationships as marriages.

Legislative outcome: Died in Committee (never came to a vote).

Source: S.29 & H.197 17-H0197 on Jan 6, 2015

Other candidates on Civil Rights: Tulsi Gabbard on other issues:
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Secy.Julian Castro (D-TX)
Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-NYC)
Rep.John Delaney (D-MD)
Rep.Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)
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Page last updated: Jun 03, 2019