Steve Drain is a pastor and spokesman for the Westboro Baptist Church, probably the most controversial church in the world, known for picketing funerals of soldiers; speaking out against homosexuality; and preaching a message of hate.
In my past I said and believed things that were wrong, and worse, hurtful to people in the LGBTQ community and their loved ones.
Many years ago, I apologized for my words and, more importantly, for the negative impact that they had. I sincerely repeat my apology today. I’m deeply sorry for having said them. My views have changed significantly since then, and my record in Congress over the last 6 years reflects what is in my heart: A strong and ongoing commitment to fighting for LGBTQ rights.
I know that LGBTQ people still struggle, are still facing discrimination, are still facing abuse and still fear that their hard-won rights are going to be taken away by people who hold views like I used to. That cannot happen, because every single American deserves to be treated equally – by their fellow Americans and under the law. I will continue to fight for LGBTQ people, whether they’re in school or serving in uniform, trying to get healthcare, taking care of their family, or looking for a home.
I grew up knowing that every person is a child of God, and equally loved by God. I have always believed in the fundamental rights and equality of all people. But I also grew up in a socially conservative household, where I was raised to believe that marriage should only be between a man and a woman. For a period of my life I didn’t see the contradiction in those beliefs.
While many Americans may be able to relate to growing up in a conservative home, my story is a little different because my father was very outspoken. He was an activist who was fighting against gay rights and marriage equality in Hawaii – and at that time, I forcefully defended him and his cause. But over the years as I grew up, I formed my own opinions based on my life experience that significantly changed my views -- at a very personal level in truly having aloha, love, for all people, and making sure that every American, regardless of sexual orientation, is treated equally under the law.
I look forward to being able to share more of my story and experiences growing up – not as an excuse – but in the hopes that it may inspire others to truly live aloha
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