Missouri Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler’s emotional opposition to the Respect for Marriage act has been criticized, mocked, and meme’d online. Now, the congresswoman’s nephew, Andrew Hartzler, responded to several points she made while arguing against the bill, rejecting her claims that it discriminates against religious institutions.
Andrew posted the response to his TikTok account (@andrewhartzler) where it was shared over 6,400 times and received over 185,000 likes (as of this writing).
He says in the clip, “Today a United States Congresswoman, my aunt Vicky, started crying because gay people like me can get married.”
The video then cuts to Hartzler speaking on the floor. “I hope and pray that my colleagues will find the courage to join me in opposing this misguided and this dangerous bill,” she pleads. The bill she’s referring to is H.R.8404, the Respect for Marriage Act, and her voice cracks as she implores others on the floor to oppose it.
According to NPR, the act’s primary function ensures that same-sex marriages performed in one state must be respected and recognized in all other states across America, effectively rendering them Federally recognized legally binding unions.
@andrewhartzler my aunt cried today #vickyhartzler #lgbtq #respectformarriage #religousexemption #congress #gay #missouri ♬ original sound – andrew hartzler
In the TikTok, when the first portion of the congresswoman speaking ends, it cuts back to Andrew grinning into the camera.
“So despite coming out to my aunt this past February, I guess she’s still just as much as a homophobe,” he says.
The video transitions to the congresswoman speaking again: “Let’s be clear, Obergefell is not in danger.” Andrew’s aunt is referring to the landmark 2015 decision in the Obergefell vs Hodges where “the United States Supreme Court ruled in a landmark decision that the 14th Amendment requires all states to license marriages between same-sex couples and to recognize all marriages that were lawfully performed out of state,” as per the ACLU of Ohio.
One may wonder, since the Obergefell vs Hodges decision was already rendered and same-sex marriages are now legal in the United States, then what’s the point of the Respect for Marriage Act? Much like Roe v Wade was overturned and reverted abortion rights to be decided at the State level, H.R.8404 aims for greater protection of same-sex marriage rights in the United States.
The congresswoman transitions from her assurances that Obergefell vs Hodges won’t be affected, however, goes on to say “But people and institutions of faith are.”
Andrew denied his aunt’s claims that religious institutions would be adversely affected by the bill, stating, “Institutions of faith like religious universities are not being silenced, they’re being empowered by the U.S. government to discriminate against tens of thousands of LGBTQ students because of religious exemptions but they still receive federal funding.”
He then highlights another snippet of his aunt’s floor speech.
“The bill’s implications submit to our ideology or be silenced,” she says. Like the other statements the congresswoman made, Andrew rejoined, saying, “It’s more like you want the power to force your religious beliefs onto everyone else and because you don’t have that power you feel like you’re being silenced. But you’re not. You’re just gonna have to learn to co-exist with all of us. And I’m sure it’s not that hard.”
Many analysts predicted that there would be GOP opposition to the protection of same-sex marriage, however, the H.R.8404 passed despite pushback from Vicky Hartzler and others; many were surprised at the staunch support many GOP politicians had for the bill: 39 Republicans voted in favor of it.
Throngs of TikTokers commented their gratitude towards Andrew for making the video and publicly speaking out against a member of his own family.
One user wrote, “Thank you for making this video. So powerful and so important.”
Others expressed their sympathy, like a user named Valma who penned, “This is heartbreaking. I’m so sorry that you have to cope with this within your family. Know that you have allies EVERYWHERE.”
Many appreciated the way Andrew broke down his aunt’s comments and responded to them point by point, like another TikToker who wrote, “Well said and so sorry that you and so many others have to live with unsupportive family! I’ll be your aunt if ya need one!”
The Daily Dot has reached out to Andrew via TikTok comment for further information.