PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe is at the center of another controversy.
“I don’t like men as you might, but stop touching me all the time. Keep your hands to yourself. If you want to touch somebody, you have people on your side of the aisle that might like it, I don’t.”
Those were the words of Rep. Metcalfe, a Cranberry Township Republican, during a legislative hearing he chaired last year.
Metcalfe is no stranger to issues of sexuality.
But, now, his Democratic opponent charges that Metcalfe is getting personal, raising his challenger’s sexuality in a hard-fought campaign in southern Butler County.
A campaign mailing by Metcalfe is being denounced by his Democratic opponent, Daniel Smith, Jr., for making an issue of Smith’s sexuality.
Both Metcalfe and Smith talked to KDKA political editor Jon Delano on Wednesday.
Delano: “When you saw this brochure, what went through your mind?”
Smith: “I felt sad. I felt sad that we’re in a world, especially when what happened over the weekend, someone has to resort to something like that.”
In the mailing, Metcalfe calls out Smith for being endorsed by “liberal gay activist groups,” and then uses a photo of Smith with Gov. Tom Wolf and another man, identified as Smith’s husband in quotation marks.
Smith is legally married to that man.
Delano: Why would you put that in quotes?”
Metcalfe: “Because that’s not what I’m calling him. That’s what he’s calling him.”
“Marriage is between a man and a woman,” says Metcalfe, who has long opposed same sex marriage.
Smith says Metcalfe is just ignorant.
“Him being a politician, he should know that that’s the law of the land. That’s where we are now. There’s no quotes around it, he’s my husband,” says Smith.
Metcalfe says some voters will care about this issue.
“The majority of people that believe that marriage is between a man and a woman, I think some of them will certainly make a decision on what he’s advocating for and who’s supporting him,” says Metcalfe.
Smith, who grew up in the district and was a life-long Republican before switching parties, disagrees.
“Obviously, he doesn’t have a good record to fall on, so he has to go this personal, and it’s unfortunate,” notes Smith. “But I’m just hopeful, actually I’m confident that the people of this district, this isn’t who they are.”
But the Cranberry Republican says it’s Smith, not him, who has made sexuality an issue by accepting support and money from gay activist groups.
“He’s the one who’s made it an issue. More than a quarter of his funding has come from a gay activist in Philadelphia,” says Metcalfe.