Politics: Tulsi Gabbard Tamayo – Stealth Candidate in Hawaii?
Tulsi Gabbard (Creative Commons)
Probably most LGBT people have not heard of Tulsi Gabbard Tamayo, or her father, Hawaii State Senator Mike Gabbard.
Mike Gabbard is an intensely homophobic man who has been battling LGBT people since the early 1990s. He is best known as the leader of a very successful but ugly and hateful campaign against gay marriage in Hawaii in the 1990s. “I am accused of being a hatemonger, but I’ve never given anyone AIDS . . .” Mike Gabbard quote.
Mike Gabbard founded “Stop Promoting Homosexuality International” in the early 1990s, had an anti gay radio program “Let’s Talk Straight, Hawaii” (1991) and an anti gay cable TV program “The Gay Deception.” He founded the “Alliance for Traditional Values and Marriage,” a major group fighting against gay marriage in Hawaii in the 1990s.
Tulsi is an attractive young woman who is currently running for the Honolulu City Council. When she was in her early twenties, she was elected to the Hawaii State House of Representatives, where she served from 2002 to 2004. While she was a state representative, she joined the Hawaii National Guard and served two tours of duty in Iraq. She left the Hawaii House of Representatives to serve in Iraq. Tulsi’s campaign website: http://tinyurl.com/2eem4yg
After serving in Iraq she became an aide to U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka. She also earned a degree in International Business from Hawaii Pacific University.
Although we just went through an intense and unsuccessful campaign to get Civil Unions (HB444) in Hawaii in 2010, Tulsi hasn’t made any comments about equal rights for LGBT people. She also has not disclosed her position on a woman’s right to choose a safe and legal abortion.
Her parents, Carol and Mike Gabbard, are both extremely anti gay and anti choice.
Tulsi isn’t even mentioning “family values” in her campaign. But she does have pictures of Mike Gabbard on her website and in her expensive campaign flyers. Tulsi is prominently featured on the website of one of Mike Gabbard’s non-profit groups “Stand Up For America” http://www.standupforamerica.net/
It is probably a good thing that she is not talking about “family values,” because the word is that Ms. Tamayo is divorced. She’s saying very little about her own marriage. She was married for a number of years, but no photo of her husband, Eduardo Tamayo, has ever appeared in the press and she never appeared publicly with him.
We have to assume that Tulsi is trying to appeal, as much as possible, to the very conservative fundamentalist Christians and Mormons who have long supported her father, without alienating the more liberal downtown Honolulu residents in her district.
Throughout their public lives, Tulsi’s parents, Mike (Krishna Katha das) and Carol (Devahuti dasi), have denied any association with a reclusive guru, Chris Butler, aka Jagad Guru Siddhaswarupananda Paramahamsa, even though there is ample evidence of their association with this extremely homophobic guru and his cult, the Science of Identity Foundation (SIF). Jagad Guru Butler has also been keenly interested in politics for years. Both Mike Gabbard and Carol Gabbard have served on the board of the Science of Identity Foundation. Honolulu Magazine says they are both listed in a Polk Directory as teachers in the Polk’s City Directory in the 1990s. Carol was the producer, for a time, of Jagad Guru Siddhaswarupananda Paramahamsa’s cable TV program “Jagad Guru Speaks.” (“Jagad Guru” means “teacher of the world.”)
In the mid-1970s Jagad Guru Butler and his devotees formed their own political party in Hawaii, the “Independents for Godly Government.” They ran a number of candidates for office in 1976, all using their western or “karmi” names on the ballot (i.e. Jivan Krishna das ran as John Moore). All the Independents for Godly Government candidates lost in 1976 (they were revealed as religious devotees of Chris Butler in Honolulu newspapers before the election).
Starting in the August 21, 1977 issue of the Honolulu Advertiser, Walter Wright wrote a series of articles about guru Chris Butler and his political and business activities. These articles are an important foundation for anyone who is interested in the Gabbard family and their background. The articles document the founding of the Down to Earth natural food stores chain in Hawaii, a business that is said to be managed and run mostly by Jagad Guru Butler devotees.
Over time five of Butler’s devotees have been elected to public office in Hawaii, including Mike Gabbard (Krishna Katha das) and Mike’s wife, Tulsi’s mother, Carol Gabbard (Devahuti dasi). Mike Gabbard has been a Honolulu City Councilman, as well as being a current Hawaii State Senator. Carol was on the Hawaii Board of Education. In addition to Mike, Carol and Tulsi Gabbard, the other Jagad Guru devotees elected to public office in Hawaii include former Hawaii State Senator Rick Reed and current Maui Councilman Wayne Nishiki. Both Carol and Mike Gabbard worked as staffers for Rick Reed.
Rick Reed was a controversial political figure in Hawaii. Mike Gabbard’s bio on his website at http://www.mikegabbard.com/ does not mention that he once worked for Reed.
There are some good articles about Mike Gabbard that mention Chris Butler, Jagad Guru, and his Science of Identity Foundation church: Honolulu Weekly, Jan 27, 1999, The Gospel According to Mike Gabbard and Honolulu Magazine, August 2004, Who is Mike Gabbard?
Chris Butler and his devotees left the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), the Hare Krishnas, around 1977. Butler’s teachings are essentially the same as those of ISKCON.
Like the Catholics, the Hare Krishnas believe that sex is for procreation only. Out of that teaching comes opposition to homosexuality, abortion, birth control, divorce, and equal rights for women.
Jagad Guru Butler and his devotees are not big supporters of separation of church and state. As one Butler devotee says: “Separation of church and state is ludicrous. Everything comes from God.”
SIF and ISKCON do not believe in the theory of evolution, either. God created everything, all at once.
There is a Rick Ross Cult Education forum about Chris Butler and the Science of Identity Foundation cult at http://tinyurl.com/2ej6pzl There you can read a lot of gossip including assertions that Butler arranges the marriages of his devotees and that it is an honor for devotees to eat food (prasadam) prepared from the finger and toenail clippings of guru and also to drink the water used to bathe the feet of guru.
Eduardo Tamayo, Tulsi’s husband or ex-husband, is said to be the son of a Filipino military guy, Col. Antonio Tamayo, Jr., who is said to be a devotee of Jagad Guru Butler.
Jagad Guru Siddhaswarupananda Paramahamsa has devotees across the U.S. and in a number of countries around the world: In the Philipines, Australia, New Zealand and in Europe. Butler and his devotees have been successful in business. Guru is very rich. Devotees run a large and successful chain of natural food stores in Hawaii known as Down to Earth. Butler and his wife (Wai Lan Butler, aka “Wailana”) run a yoga and meditation supplies business at www.wailana.com Devotees of Butler are expected to give tithes to their guru. His employees contribute in the range of 25% to 50% of their income to guru.
Mike Gabbard’s anti LGBT radio program “Let’s Talk Straight, Hawaii” was sponsored by Down to Earth in the early 1990s.
We have found that many of the financial contributors to Mike Gabbard’s political campaigns are Jagad Guru Butler devotees. We haven’t checked for Tulsi, yet, but she says she is the largest financial contributor to her campaign. She does not have a job, that we know of. She does claim to be a “small business owner,” but we don’t know the name of the business or how successful it is. Her father does not seem to be very successful in business, either. He once got fired as Chris Butler’s personal assistant.
Tulsi, sometimes spelled “Tulasi,” is the most sacred plant in India. It is sometimes called “Krishna Basil” or “Red Holy Basil.” Krishna is often depicted with tulsi or holy basil at his feet.
Hawaii State Senator Mike Gabbard has been muting his homophobia lately. He strongly opposed HB444, the Civil Unions bill, but he has been concentrating on environmental issues. He is well-known, as a homophobe, to Hawaii LGBT people. Tulsi is attractive, energetic and perky. Her views and accomplishments are mostly unknown to voters. She doesn’t have much of a record from her time in the Hawaii House of Representatives.
(LGBT activists worked heroically, for more than four years, to get HB444, Civil Unions, through the two houses of the Hawaii legislature. It was vetoed July 6th, 2010, by Republican governor Linda Lingle. Activists are now working to elect the Democratic Party candidate for Governor, former U.S. Representative Neil Abercrombie this November. Neil Abercrombie has promised to sign a Civil Unions bill into law. The Republican candidate for Hawaii governor, James “Duke” Aiona has ties to a far right, strongly anti LGBT religous group http://tinyurl.com/2cy98ub “Duke” Aiona says that he would not sign a Civil Unions bill into law and has called for a public vote on Civil Unions.)
Right now, there are no issues of equal rights for LGBT people or issues of equal rights for women before the Honolulu City Council. so no one is asking Tulsi about her opinions on these important issues. (Honolulu City Council runs both the City and County of Honolulu. They control the entire island of Oahu and all the cities and towns on the island. This is an important position.)
Only people in Honolulu District 6 (which covers a portion of Makiki, Downtown Honolulu, Punchbowl, Liliha, Pauoa Valley, Nuuanu, Alewa Heights, Papakolea, Kalihi Valley, and a portion of Kalihi) can vote for Tulsi Gabbard Tamayo in this upcoming November 2nd, 2010 General Election.
I believe that Tulsi’s opponent, lawyer Sesnita “Ses” Moepono, has some understanding of Tulsi’s background. She is said to be good on LGBT issues and equal rights for women issues. (This is a nonpartisan, runoff election).
Ses Moepono obviously cannot trot out the guru or the cult or even the record of Tulsi’s parents in her own campaign.
For voters who support equal rights for LGBT people and equal rights for women, there is a lot at stake in this election. For progressives, there is also a lot at stake.
Overall, the Gabbard name could help to get Tulsi Gabbard Tamayo elected. This could be a close race.
There is a lot of information about this candidate and her background that is hidden from the voters.
Since this article was written, Tulsi has changed her name back to Tulsi Gabbard from Tulsi Gabbard Tamayo. Councilwoman Gabbard is divorced from Eduardo Tamayo. As of May 2012, Tulsi Gabbard is running for the U.S. House of Representatives for the Hawaii Second Congressional District. She says that she now supports equal rights for LGBT people and also supports a woman’s right to choose.