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The Gay Nephew Of The Lawmaker Who Cried While Voting Against Marriage Equality Has A Message For Her

A representative wears a beige leather jacket, standing on the floor of the House of Representatives in front of a microphone and frowning


Because the Home of Representatives convened on Thursday to vote for the Respect for Marriage Act, lawmakers rose to talk each in favor and towards the landmark invoice.

Amongst these opposing the laws, which might act as a fail-safe ought to the Supreme Court docket’s right-wing majority reverse the decision that legalized marriage equality, was Rep. Vicky Hartzler. The Missouri Republican mentioned it was Christians, and never the LGBTQ group, who have been below risk within the US, arguing the federal government was attempting to silence spiritual folks.

Then, she broke down as she implored her colleagues to vote towards the invoice.

“I hope and pray that my colleagues will discover the braveness to affix me in opposing this misguided and this harmful invoice,” Hartzler mentioned via tears.

The lawmaker’s teary (and unsuccessful) plea to halt the laws, which handed the Home and is awaiting the president’s signature, attracted significant media attention and shortly went viral.

On TikTok, one consumer even turned her speech right into a defiant dance observe.

Throughout the nation in Tulsa, Oklahoma, 23-year-old Andrew Hartzler’s Instagram began lighting up as mates and followers started tagging him in clips of the footage. Why? Andrew is homosexual and Rep. Hartzler is his aunt.

“At first I simply thought that it was an outdated video as a result of that sort of rhetoric is sort of frequent from my aunt,” he instructed BuzzFeed Information. “However I noticed that it was from as we speak and what she was speaking about, and, yeah, I wasn’t actually shocked.”

“It was bizarre to me that she was crying. I might say that,” he added. “I do not suppose that was a efficiency. Realizing my aunt, I believe these have been real tears.”

After popping out to her in February, Andrew isn’t near his aunt anymore, and his relationship along with his conservative, spiritual dad and mom has additionally suffered. However he felt strongly sufficient about her teary feedback on Thursday that he needed to reply.

“I do really feel compelled to talk out after I see this simply to counter these messages,” he mentioned. “I do not need my final title to be related to hate. I would like it to be related to love.”

In a TikTok he posted on Friday, which has since been considered greater than 200,000 occasions, Andrew instructed his aunt that spiritual establishments aren’t being persecuted, highlighting how Christian colleges obtain federal funding regardless of discriminating towards LGBTQ college students.

“It is extra such as you need the facility to drive your spiritual beliefs onto everybody else, and since you do not have that energy, you are feeling such as you’re being silenced,” he mentioned within the TikTok. “However you are not. You are simply gonna should be taught to coexist with all of us. And I am positive it is not that tough.”

Andrew is a part of a federal class motion lawsuit through which plaintiffs are suing the Division of Schooling to cease spiritual colleges from receiving taxpayer {dollars} in the event that they discriminate towards LGBTQ college students. Beneath present regulation, such colleges obtain spiritual exemptions from complying with Title IX anti-discrimination legal guidelines.

He started attending Oral Roberts College, a Christian school, in 2017 resulting from stress from his father, who had despatched him two years earlier to a summer season camp that practiced conversion remedy. Like different spiritual universities, Oral Roberts has an honor code that prohibits “gay exercise.”

In his junior 12 months, Andrew obtained into hassle for having his boyfriend in his dorm and was compelled to attend “accountability conferences” with faculty officers. However he managed to evade the proceedings and finally graduate when the college stopped in-person lessons in 2020 as a result of pandemic. Nonetheless, the expertise left him depressed and with ideas of suicide.

“I felt embarrassed and ashamed for being punished for my sexuality,” Andrew wrote in a court declaration. “I’m grateful to be a survivor of Oral Roberts College’s discrimination and harassment on the idea of my sexual orientation.”

  Courtesy of Andrew Hartzler

Courtesy of Andrew Hartzler

Rep. Hartzler is among the many most anti-gay members of Congress, having persistently acquired a rating of zero within the annual scorecard from the Human Rights Campaign, which ranks members on their help for equality payments.

Earlier than she was elected to Congress in 2011, Hartzler was a house economics instructor after which a lawmaker within the Missouri state authorities. In 2004, she served because the Missouri spokesperson for the Coalition to Defend Marriage, which led a profitable effort to amend the state’s structure to ban marriage for same-sex {couples}.

Rep. Hartzler, who’s married to Andrew’s father’s brother, is leaving Congress within the new 12 months, having mounted an unsuccessful marketing campaign to safe the Republican nomination for senator. Her workers didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark for this story.

Andrew mentioned his aunt lately invited him to spend Thanksgiving at her dwelling, however he opted to not go as a result of he didn’t really feel he’d be accepted there. He mentioned he hopes his phrases right here and in his TikTok make his aunt reckon with the impression of her rhetoric.

“I actually want that she would see how dangerous her phrases are and that she would not use her political energy to proceed instilling spiritual exemptions into civil rights legal guidelines and permitting colleges to actively discriminate towards LGBTQ folks,” he mentioned. “I believe that she’s attempting to play the sufferer when actually she’s the perpetrator of a number of hurt being accomplished, and I really feel like she must take accountability.”

Andrew mentioned he feels his aunt misunderstands the respect and appreciation LGBTQ folks have for marriage. He pointed to the phrases of Supreme Court docket Justice Anthony Kennedy, who, in his majority opinion legalizing marriage equality, wrote, “It might misunderstand these women and men to say they disrespect the thought of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they search to seek out its achievement for themselves.”

When he first learn that passage in 2015, Andrew mentioned the phrases moved him to tears.

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