Kelly Tshibaka

Kelly Tshibaka Content Exchange
Dermot Cole

Dermot Cole

When she was at Harvard Law School two decades ago, Kelly Tshibaka wrote columns that generated some controversy, including one in which she said that “Homosexuals can come out of homosexuality because their preference is not biologically mandated. Unlike race or gender, homosexuality is a choice.”

Alaska news organizations have neglected to report on Tshibaka’s background and beliefs, but CNN has stepped in with a piece that will generate news coverage in Alaska.

CNN has this report on Tshibaka’s record, including many details that have yet to be reported in Alaska.

When Gov. Mike Dunleavy picked Tshibaka to be administration commissioner two years ago and created a new job for her husband, I mentioned the Harvard column on homosexuality, drawing on an internet source that remains easily available.

Two decades ago, the Harvard Law School chapter of Lambda said it did not want to respond in any way to Kelly’s column on homosexuality that would make Tshibaka, then known by her maiden name of Kelly Hartline, seem to be a “legitimate opponent for debate.”

Harvard Law Record reader Jennine Dalbusco wrote: “What is most disappointing about Kelly’s ‘Coming out of Homosexuality’ is not learning that bigotry is alive and well at Harvard Law in the HLSRECORD, or even that this same forum failed to publish a competing view on an issue of such social importance. Far outweighing these issues is my concern for what that article says about the caliber of scholarship at Harvard Law School such that one of its students, advanced to 3L status, could author such a piece.”

One reader referred to her as “St. Kelly” and suggested she wanted to be a martyr, while another said Tshibaka had probably not spent much time with gay people.

Tshibaka responded to the critics by saying, “As to those I have offended, please accept my sincerest apologies. I did not intend to offend you, but simply discuss an alternative perspective.”

Tshibaka praised the work of Exodus International North America, a group that promoted conversion therapy.

“Through working with several thousand homosexuals, Exodus has found that the most common cause of homosexuality is sexual molestation during childhood,” Tshibaka said.

“To assist in attaining freedom from homosexuality, Exodus recommends that homosexuals participate in pastoral counseling, accountability groups, personal prayer and Bible studies,” Tshibaka wrote.

In 2013, Exodus shut down and its president apologized for the “pain and hurt” that the organization had inflicted on others. 

“It is strange to be someone who has both been hurt by the Church’s treatment of the LGBTQ community, and also to be someone who must apologize for being part of the very system of ignorance that perpetuated that hurt,” Exodus President Alan Chambers said. “Today it is as if I’ve just woken up to a greater sense of how painful it is to be a sinner in the hands of an angry church.”



This article originally ran on

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