Representative Vicky Hartzler, a Missouri Republican, was called out by her gay nephew Andrew Hartzler for her anti-LGBTQ speech on Thursday before the House of Representatives voted on the Respect for Marriage Act (RFMA).
He posted a video on TikTok, and shared it Friday on Twitter, commenting on her remarks about the bill.
“Today, a United States congresswoman, my Aunt Vicky, started crying because gay people like me can get married,” Andrew Hartzler said in the TikTok video, which then cuts to a clip showing the Republican representative crying while she says, “I hope and pray that my colleagues find the courage to join me in opposing this misguided and this dangerous bill.”
“So despite coming out to my aunt this past February, I guess she’s still just as much as a homophobe,” Andrew said in response to the remarks by Hartzler, who is married to his father’s brother, according to The Advocate.
The U.S. House passed the RFMA on Thursday by a vote of 258-169-1 after Democrats pushed for the bill to pass before they lose control of the House. In July, the House first voted to approve the bill 267-157, with all Democrats and 47 Republicans voting in favor of the RFMA. But only 39 Republicans voted in favor of the bill on Thursday.
The bill’s passage comes amid concerns that the landmark 2015 Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized gay marriage, could be reversed after the Supreme Court decided in June to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that gave women the federal right to have abortions.
Hartzler continued saying during her speech that “Obergefell is not in danger, but people and institutions of faith are.” However, her nephew countered that statement, saying, “Aunt Vicky, that’s not right.”
“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 argued.
Andrew is among dozens of plaintiffs who filed a lawsuit aiming to end religious exemptions to the rule of Title IX , the federal civil rights law that bans discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in any educational institution that receives federal funding.
The lawsuit, which is led by the Religious Exemption Accountability Project, seeks to end the religious exemption in the federal civil rights law that allows educational institutions to discriminate against students based on their sexual orientation despite receiving federal funding, according to an article published by Politico in May.
The lawsuit alleges that the exemption paves the way for discrimination against approximately 100,000 LGBTQ+ students in the United States.
Representative Hartzler on Thursday said that the RFMA bill forces individuals to “submit to our ideology or be silenced.”
“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,” Andrew Hartzler said, commenting on his aunt’s remarks. “You’re just gonna have to learn to coexist with all of us. And I’m sure it’s not that hard.”
Newsweek reached out to Andrew Hartzler and to Representative Vicky Hartzler’s office for comment.