Openly gay Pennsylvania state Representative Brian Sims (D) planned to speak on the legislature floor on Wednesday about the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act — but he was blocked from talking by a Republican colleague who said his comments would be “open rebellion against God’s law.” Now, Sims is asking for a reprimand of his Republican colleague.
Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R), who is known for his inflammatory remarks, also blocked two of Sim’s colleagues who wanted to speak about DOMA, and openly admitted that his religious beliefs compelled him not to let Sims speak:
“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.
Other Republican members of the legislature reportedly apologized to Sims — who was the first lawmaker in the state to be elected while openly gay.
A reprimand vote in the legislature would be largely symbolic, but Sims believes it’s needed to show that Metcalfe’s colleagues have no confidence in “a guy who hates women, he hates gay people, he hates minorities and he hates immigrants,” as Sims puts it.
Earlier this week, Sims introduced a marriage equality bill that would give full equal marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples in Pennsylvania. While Metcalfe might be set in his opinions about LGBT couples, Sims is capable of moving his state’s legislature forward. As a recent study pointed out, “the presence of even a small number of openly gay legislators is associated significantly with the future passage of enhanced gay rights.”