LAQUEY, Mo. (Oct. 30, 2010) — Republican congressional candidate Vicky Hartzler earned her reputation as a Christian conservative during a successful statewide campaign in 2004 in which voters decided by a 71 percent margin to amend the state constitution to bar gay marriage. She’s been blasted by the national liberal magazine Mother Jones which asked the question: “Is Vicky Hartzler the Most Anti-Gay Candidate in America?” (article located here), and conservative Christian themes were brought up several times during her Saturday morning veterans rally at VFW Post 3168 next to the Laquey ambulance base.
Hartzler attacked incumbent Congressman Ike Skelton for his role as chairman of the House Armed Services Committee in which he allowed a hate crimes bill to be attacked to the federal defense authorization, and then using foul language to criticize U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, a fellow congressman from Missouri with whom Hartzler served in the Missouri legislature.
“It’s an important bill; a sacred bill in my mind,” Hartzler said. “(Speaker of the House) Nancy Pelosi comes to him and says, ‘Hey, would you stick on the spending bill for the troops my number one agenda item for San Francisco?’ … using the military to pass a radical piece of social legislation is wrong.”
Akin tried to get Skelton to strip the hate-crimes legislation out of the bill but failed.
“He got up on the House floor and made a speech repudiating that,” Hartzler said. “(FOX News said) Congressman Ike Skelton has just gotten caught on an open mike today … so we turned on the TV, and unfortunately had the opportunity to see our congressman, our representative, stand at the microphone, give a little speech repudiating Congressman Akin’s plea to send it back to committee and then he turns to him and … said ‘Take that and shove it up your ___.’”
Hartzler said she was “shocked,” “disappointed” and “embarrassed” by those comments.
Area resident Neil Lewis interjected even stronger words.
“He’s just showing his colors; it’s hard to say, but it’s true,” Lewis said.
“It reinforced in my mind it’s time for him to go,” Hartzler said. “I have been disappointed in him. He hasn’t run on his accomplishments. Well, partly because he didn’t have much to talk about. What is he going to talk about? Jobs? His vote for cap-and-tax? His vote for Nancy Pelosi?”
Responding to questions on other social issues such as retaining the current “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ban on open homosexuals serving in the military and possible federal constitutional amendments addressing gay marriage and abortion, Hartzler said she doesn’t want to see homosexuals in the military and would like to see both abortion and gay marriage barred by the constitution.
“I think (gays in the military) would be detrimental to our national defense; I think it would hurt recruitment, retention and morale, and I don’t think the military should be used for a social experiment,” Hartzler said. “It’s not a right to get to serve in the military … we’ve got rogue judges now and of course we have an administration and others that want to repeal that.”
Hartzler said there’s no reason Skelton couldn’t have used his position as chairman of the House Armed Services Committee to more forcefully fight against pro-gay issues.
“Once again, I’m disappointed in Ike not leading. He could have led on that issue; he didn’t even have a vote in his committee. We find out now that if there’d been a vote, that he would have had enough votes to kill it,” Hartzler said. “Once again when Nancy Pelosi comes to him he says, ‘Well, I don’t like it,’ but that’s all he did. It just whipped through. He gave it to a subcommittee that’s very friendly to it and it went through.”
Hartzler said barring gay marriage isn’t discrimination but rather “wise public policy.”
“It’s worked for 5,000 years, I don’t think we should need to change it,” Hartzler said.
While most of Hartzler’s criticism focused on Skelton and Pelosi, she also criticized Obama.
“They don’t understand that we believe that yes, we are a Christian nation and we shouldn’t go around the world apologizing like our president does,” Hartzler said.
Hartzler said in 2004 when she was spearheading the Missouri efforts to ban gay marriage, she met with advocates of similar amendments in other states and at the federal level. Efforts to amend the federal constitution were made at the time but failed, even with a sizeable Republican majority in Congress.
“To pass a constitutional amendment is not easy to do and the founders were probably wise to make it that way,” Hartzler said. “You have to have a large percentage of votes in the congress and it has to be ratified by the states. It is not easy to do, but it’s worth doing on certain things.”
The required majority is two-thirds of both houses of Congress, plus ratifications by three-fourths of the state legislatures.
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