Skip to content

Vicky Hartzler’s Gay Nephew Andrew Speaks Out


Rep. Hartzler is among the most anti-gay members of Congress, having consistently received a score of zero in the annual scorecard from the Human Rights Campaign, which ranks members on their support for equality bills.

Before she was elected to Congress in 2011, Hartzler was a home economics teacher and then a lawmaker in the Missouri state government. In 2004, she served as the Missouri spokesperson for the Coalition to Protect Marriage, which led a successful effort to amend the state’s constitution to ban marriage for same-sex couples.

Rep. Hartzler, who is married to Andrew’s father’s brother, is leaving Congress in the new year, having mounted an unsuccessful campaign to secure the Republican nomination for senator. Her staff did not immediately respond to a request for comment for this story.

Andrew said his aunt recently invited him to spend Thanksgiving at her home, but he opted not to go because he didn’t feel he’d be accepted there. He said he hopes his words here and in his TikTok make his aunt reckon with the impact of her rhetoric.

“I really wish that she would see how harmful her words are and that she wouldn’t use her political power to continue instilling religious exemptions into civil rights laws and allowing schools to actively discriminate against LGBTQ people,” he said. “I think that she’s trying to play the victim when really she’s the perpetrator of a lot of harm being done, and I feel like she needs to take responsibility.”

Andrew said he feels his aunt misunderstands the respect and appreciation LGBTQ people have for marriage. He pointed to the words of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who, in his majority opinion legalizing marriage equality, wrote, “It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves.”

When he first read that passage in 2015, Andrew said the words moved him to tears.