Pennsylvania Rep. Brian Sims, the first openly gay lawmaker elected in Pennsylvania history, is asking legislators to censure ultra-conservative Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (pictured, below) who blocked him from making remarks about the SCOTUS rulings on marriage. Metcalfe's reasoning for blocking Sims was because he was preparing to make remarks that were "open rebellion against what the word of God has said, what God has said, and just open rebellion against God's law."
In a part of the house session where members can speak on wide-ranging topics, Sims had just begun his remarks when he was shut down.
"I wasn't planning on chastising anybody. I wasn't planning on discussing how far we have to come in Pennsylvania or that we really have no civil rights in Pennsylvania," Sims said. "It was really just going to limit my comments to how important the cases were."
It takes just one legislator to end the impromptu remarks. Rep. Daryl Metcalfe was one of the House Republicans who objected.
"I did not believe that as a member of that body that I should allow someone to make comments such as he was preparing to make that ultimately were just open rebellion against what the word of God has said, what God has said, and just open rebellion against God's law," said Metcalfe, R-Butler.
Two more Democratic legislators got up to speak in support of Sims. Neither was allowed to proceed.
Sims has asked the House to censure Metcalfe, the AP reports:
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.
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.”
In other news, Sims has announced he'll introduce a marriage equality bill:
“About two hours ago, I shopped around a co-sponsorship memo for a marriage bill, and I’m going to introduce an LGBT marriage equality bill,” he says, adding the Supreme Court cases “helped light the fire under my colleagues to do it now.”
The co-sponsorship memo, which is sent out to House members for additional support, notes it “would re-define the definition of marriage as a civil contract between two people who enter into matrimony, and eliminate the current prohibition against same-sex marriage in our Commonwealth. It is important to note that this bill provides protections for religious organizations and entities that do not wish to sanction, perform, or in any way recognize such marriages.”
Said Sims on Facebook last night:
A quick thought before I head to bed: What happened the last two days in Harrisburg wasn't a Democrat vs. Republican thing. This was the State House vs. a few tea partiers. From the Speaker handling all of this appropriately to the many members of the Republican caucus I've heard from who've apologized for the lack of decorum, it's clear to me that the entire State House was angered by the shenanigans. That's the progress I'm looking for and I'm thankful to be finding it! Lots to do but lots to celebrate these days…