Those come in the form of homophobic remarks the congresswoman made over a decade ago. At least twice the Hawaii Democrat publicly called the LGBTQ community and supporters of same-sex marriage âhomosexual extremists.â
In one instance in February 2004, Gabbard, at the time a 22-year-old state representative, was testifying against a bill aimed at legalizing same-sex civil unions.
âTo try to act as if there is a difference between âcivil unionsâ and same-sex marriage is dishonest, cowardly and extremely disrespectful to the people of Hawaii,â she said. âAs Democrats, we should be representing the views of the people, not a small number of homosexual extremists.â
Six months later, Gabbard spoke more candidly while replying to an email originally sent to her father, Mike Gabbard, who was a Republican city councilman in Honolulu running for Congress.
âI smell a skunk,â Gabbard told Honolulu Magazine. She was responding to an email that was originally addressed to her father asking about his ties to the leader of a Hare Krishna movement in Hawaii, according to the magazine.
âItâs clear to me that youâre acting as a conduit for The Honolulu Weekly and other homosexual extremist supporters of Ed Case [Mike Gabbardâs opponent],â she wrote.Â
Gabbard was elected to the U.S. House in 2012 and became the first Hindu member of Congress, as well as one of Congressâ first female combat veterans.
She quickly became a star of the Democratic Party with her own rogue brand of progressive leadership.
Gabbardâs remarks from 14 years ago were bound to resurface as she walked even further into the national spotlight with her presidential bid.
And while Gabbard, 37, has evolved since then â she once backed a bill targeting discrimination based on sexual orientation and famously endorsed Bernie Sandersâ presidential bid at the expense of her post as Democratic National Committee vice chair â some people, including journalists from Hawaii to D.C., wouldnât let her off easy for her homophobic remarks.
Gabbard may back legislation that supports the LGBTQ community, but itâs unclear if her personal views have evolved with her career.
A 2016 profile of the combat veteran published in Ozy suggests otherwise: âShe tells me that, no, her personal views havenât changed, but she doesnât figure itâs her job to do as the Iraqis did and force her own beliefs on others,â noted reporter Sanjena Sathian.
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