Gay PA. Lawmaker Seeks Reprimand of Arch-conservative Colleague
HARRISBURG, Pa. - An openly gay Pennsylvania state lawmaker asked his legislative colleagues Thursday to censure an archconservative colleague who a day earlier had prevented him from making floor remarks about the Supreme Court’s gay marriage rulings.
Rep. Brian Sims, D-Philadelphia, asked the chamber to reprimand Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, R-Butler, at the close of session because of an interview Metcalfe gave to explain why he exercised his right to prevent him from speaking on the topic during session.
"His comments did not live up to the standards set by this body," Sims said on the floor.
Metcalfe told WHYY-FM that Sims’ comments would have been "open rebellion against God’s law." He told The Associated Press late Thursday he stood by those remarks.
"For me to allow him to say things that I believe are open rebellion against God are for me to participate in his open rebellion," Metcalfe told the AP. "There’s no free speech on the floor."
Members have the right under House rules to veto another’s remarks under "unanimous consent," and when Sims got up to speak on Wednesday, Metcalfe and at least one other representative withdrew their consent. He spoke on the floor Thursday under a different rule, "point of personal privilege."
On Thursday, House Speaker Sam Smith, R-Jefferson, told Sims the proper procedure under the circumstances would be either going through the Ethics Committee or seeking a House resolution. Sims said he plans to pursue the matter.
"This is a guy who hates women, he hates gay people, he hates minorities and he hates immigrants," Sims said.
By any measure, Metcalfe is among the most conservative state lawmakers. He has sponsored pro-gun-rights rallies and organized opposition to people who enter the country without legal permission.
Metcalfe said he regularly attends a nondenominational Christian church near his home in western Pennsylvania. He said the comments Sims would have made about the high court’s decisions would have been "ultimately offensive to the majority of my constituents, and myself."
Metcalfe said "there were many" of his fellow Republicans who shared his objections, while Sims said he "spent all day yesterday hearing from Republicans" who sided with him.
Sims announced Thursday he would introduce a bill to legalize same-sex marriages in the state.
Last year, Sims defeated the incumbent in his downtown Philadelphia district to become the first openly gay candidate ever elected to the General Assembly.