JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — One Missouri Republican lawmaker defended a 12-year-old’s right to get married during a debate about anti-transgender care legislation earlier this week.

Missouri State Sen. Mike Moon (R-Ash Grove) said Tuesday on the floor that he knew at least one person who got married at 12 years old, adding: “Guess what? They’re still married.”

State Rep. Aaron Crosley (D-Independence) brought attention to Moon’s remarks via Twitter, sharing a video of the floor debate late Wednesday that was largely met with criticism among viewers.

In the video, State Rep. Peter Merideth (D-St. Louis) was addressing Moon and discussed his support of “parents’ rights to raise their kids how they want.” Merideth then pointed out that Moon didn’t want to make it illegal for children at the age of 12 to get married, as long as they had consent of parents.

As the exchange progresses, Moon asked the lawmaker twice, “Do you know any kids who have been married at age 12?” Merideth then replied, “I don’t need to.” Moon then noted, “I do, and guess what? They’re still married.”

On Wednesday, Moon defended his comments on Twitter in a reply to one critic:

“Something that is often missing is the back story. With regard to my answer, I did not discuss the details: a 12 year old impregnated a minor of similar age. With consent of the parents, they married… and are still married today.”

Another viewer than asks how is that supposed to make it better, to which Moon again replied via Twitter:

You clearly did not understand. Her parents consented – no force. Their marriage is thriving.

The Springfield News-Leader reports that Moon’s support for children to get married with parental consent dates back to at least 2018. He voted “no” on a bill to raise the minimum age to legally get married from 15 to 16, legislation that is now part of Missouri law.

Moon’s remarks came amid discussions about the “Missouri Save Adolescents from Experimentation Act,” which would block healthcare providers from performing gender-transition surgeries on any minor if passed.