Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo., takes a picture during a House Armed Services Committee markup (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Getty)
Republican congresswoman Vicky Hartzler, whose office hosted a group promoting gay cure therapy has refused to apologise.
The Missouri Republican refused to back down after her staffers helped arrange a Washington DC forum for a group promoting the discredited idea that homosexuality can be cured.
Hartzler’s office admitted helping fringe gay cure group ‘Changed’ secure office space for the event on Monday, where speakers railed against attempts to ban gay cure therapy.
The event was held close to the office of Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu, the sponsor of the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act, which would outlaw attempts to ‘cure’ gay teens.
Lieu called her out directly, tweeting: “Dear @RepHartzler: I understand your office denied but then admitted to sponsoring a group that promotes conversion therapy to have an event next to my office.
“I would now like to request you meet people who attempted suicide after going through this fraudulent practice.”
Republican won’t apologise for promoting gay cure therapy
The Republican lawmaker has since said that she “personally wasn’t aware” of the booking and did not attend the event – but would see nothing to be sorry for if she had.
According to The Missourian, she told reporters: “I may have been unavailable at the moment, but I would have supported this effort.
“It wasn’t that big of a deal in that we were just helping to facilitate some people who wanted to come share their story with others. And I think their story needs to be heard.”
Vicky Hartzler has a long anti-LGBT history
Hartzler has a lengthy anti-LGBT history, having successfully pressured Donald Trump into imposing a ban on transgender people serving in the military.
The lawmaker was also part of the so-called ‘Coalition to Protect Marriage’ in Missouri, and was recorded comparing gay marriage to incest and paedophilia.
Speaking to college students at a DC summit in 2011, she said of same-sex marriage: “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? So pretty soon if you don’t set parameters, you don’t have any.”