GOP congresswoman who's repeatedly tried to block LGBTQ rights is running for Senate

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Vicky Hartzler has a long history of opposing LGBTQ rights, including the Equality Act.

A passionate opponent of LGBTQ equality is running for Senate, and she is warning that Democrats are "destroying the country."

Republican Rep. Vicky Hartzler of Missouri announced on Thursday that she is running to fill the Senate seat that will be open in 2022 due to the retirement of GOP Sen. Roy Blunt, who announced in March that he would not seek reelection.

Hartzler released a video announcing her run in which she says that the Democratic Party has been taken over by socialists and is going to ruin the nation.

"They are endangering our security, bankrupting our nation, killing our jobs, fueling inflation, harming our children, defunding our police, shredding our freedoms, and rewriting our history. They are destroying the country you and I love, and they must be stopped," she says.

Hartzler has a long history of standing in the way of LGBTQ rights, and has often played a pivotal role in legislative efforts to do so.

Before she was elected to public office, Hartzler was a spokesperson for the Coalition to Protect Marriage in Missouri, in 2004, working on a successful campaign to pass a constitutional amendment in the state banning gay marriage. It was the first such amendment passed in the nation, and was voided by the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges that required the states to recognize same-sex marriage.

According to a 2010 Mother Jones article on her history of opposing LGBTQ equality, Hartzler was also against the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the policy that permitted LGBTQ people to serve in the U.S. military if they did not disclose their sexual orientation, and was pleased with the passage in 2008 of Prop. 8, a California constitutional amendment that banned same-sex marriage until it was struck down by the courts.

She told the St. Louis Dispatch that same year that LGBTQ people didn't deserve nondiscrimination protections because, she believed, sexual orientation could be a choice people make.

In 2011, at an event hosted by the right-wing Eagle Forum Collegians, she argued that allowing marriage equality would lead to legitimizing incest and pedophilia, ThinkProgress reported: "Why not allow an uncle to marry his niece? Why not allow a 50-year-old man to marry a 12-year-old girl if they love each other and they’re committed?" she said.

Since her election to the House of Representatives in 2010, Hartzler has continued to oppose federal nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people.

In July 2017, Hartzler championed an unsuccessful amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would have stopped the military from providing hormone treatments and transition-related surgeries to transgender service members. After the amendment was defeated, Donald Trump announced on Twitter that he was banning transgender people from the military. Hartzler praised the move.

Hartzler voted against the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act in 2019 because it included a provision that required prisons to house transgender people in facilities designated for people of their actual gender. "VAWA has become a partisan bill hijacked by liberals with a political agenda, who seek to elevate transgender politics over the safety and well-being of women," she said in a statement released that year.

Hartzler has repeatedly opposed the Equality Act, legislation that would expand and clarify federal nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people in housing, education, health care, jury service, and more. The Human Rights Campaign's Congressional Scorecard for the 116th Congress measuring members' support for equality gave Hartzler a zero rating.

In 2019, before the current proliferation on the right of inaccurate claims about transgender athletes hurting girls and women's sports, Hartzler said of the Equality Act, "This bill should be renamed the 'Inequality Act,' as its policies on the state level have already been used to eliminate safe spaces for women, irreparably harm children, trample parental rights, and undermine the free exercise of religion, and dismantle female athletics."

In 2021, Hartzler continued her collaboration with such right-wing groups as the Alliance Defending Freedom and the Heritage Foundation in their efforts at crafting legislation aimed at restricting the rights of LGBTQ Americans.

Hartzler joins a Republican Senate primary field in Missouri that includes former Gov. Eric Greitens, state Attorney General Eric Schmitt, and St. Louis attorney Mark McCloskey.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.