HARRISBURG (KDKA) — Pa. Rep. Brian Sims, a Philadelphia Democrat and the only openly gay legislator in Pennsylvania, says Pa. Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, a Cranberry Republican, invoked a House rule to keep Sims from talking about the Supreme Court’s gay marriage rulings.
“I got four or five words in and my mic was cut,” Sims told KDKA political editor Jon Delano.
Metcalfe says his religious views against gay marriage compelled him to do it.
“His talking about that on the House floor would have been an open rebellion against Almighty God and God’s word, against God’s law. And as a Christian, if I would have sat there and been silent, it would have violated my conscience because of my beliefs as a Christian,” Metcalfe told Jon Delano.
Later on, Sims took to the House floor under a different rule of personal privilege and asked that Metcalfe be reprimanded.
“We did place our hands on the Bible and swear to uphold the Constitution. We did not do otherwise,” Sims told his colleagues. “My actions have not in any way been against the laws of any God, and I would ask that the maker of the comments be reprimanded for doing so.”
Sims says this is not a theocracy where religion trumps democracy.
“There are lots of places in this world where one particular religion dominates not just the culture but the government as well, but the United States is most definitely not one of those places.”
But Metcalfe says his Christian religion helps all.
“I’m a Christian. Based on the command of Jesus Christ, of Almighty God, I love my fellow man. I work to protect their liberties,” Metcalfe adds.
Metcalfe insists he’s just following the House rules — which Sims voted for — that allow any member to stop another from speaking.
But Sims says Metcalfe’s anti-gay homophobic views cross the line — and he may file ethics charges against Metcalfe.
Sims says it’s important the rules not be used to shut down dissenting views.
Metcalfe — who is pushing a constitutional amendment to keep marriage between a man and a woman — says he welcomes debating whatever charges Sims brings.