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PA Legislator Blocked From Speaking About DOMA, Told Comments Would ‘Violate God’s Law’

Facepalm

An openly gay member of the Pennsylvania legislature was barred earlier this week from speaking on the floor about the Supreme Court’s decision in the DOMA case, with one member saying that his comments would have violated “God’s law”:

An openly gay lawmaker was silenced by colleagues on the Pennsylvania House floor Thursday when he attempted to speak about the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act.

State Rep. Brian Sims (D-Philadelphia) took to the House floor on Thursday to discuss the high court’s landmark ruling, which found the federal law barring the government from recognizing same-sex marriages legalized by states to be unconstitutional. However, as WHYY News and Philly.com report, Sims’ remarks were blocked by several state lawmakers using a procedural maneuver.

One of those lawmakers, conservative state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler), told WHYY that he believed Sims’ comments would be a violation of “God’s law.”

“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,” Metcalfe said.

Sims said he had no intention of criticizing gay marriage detractors, and had only planned to highlight the importance of the court’s ruling.

“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.

Two other Democrats attempted to speak in support of Sims, but they too were blocked.

At the end of the session, Sims rose to speak again, criticizing Metcalfe and others who had blocked him.

“A few months ago I reminded this House that we put our hands on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution, not the other way around. What I did was in no way against the law of any God,” he said, referencing a speech he made in April. “I can’t call anyone a bigot, a homophobe or racist, but language used against me does not live up to the standards of this body.”

Sims is the first openly gay member of the Pennsylvania legislature. Clearly, they’re making him feel welcome.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Tony W says:

    “A few months ago I reminded this House that we put our hands on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution, not the other way around.”

    Awesome quote, says it all….

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 0

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Tony W: Makes me wonder what an atheist would swear on.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    “I can’t call anyone a bigot, a homophobe or racist, but language used against me does not live up to the standards of this body.”

    Oh, sure you can.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  4. @OzarkHillbilly:

    Actually, he probably can’t. Most legislative bodies in the US have rules against directly insulting another member. That sentence was basically Sim’s way of calling the other members bigots without breaking the rule.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  5. @OzarkHillbilly:

    In a lot of cases, atheists will swear in by placing their hand on a law book or a copy of the Constitution.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  6. al-Ameda says:

    The Republican re-branding effort continues to be a success, thanks to, well, people like Daryl Metcalfe:

    One of those lawmakers, conservative state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler), told WHYY that he believed Sims’ comments would be a violation of “God’s law.”

    “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,” Metcalfe said.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  7. al-Ameda says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    @Tony W: Makes me wonder what an atheist would swear on.

    Maybe a dictionary?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  8. Jenos Idanian says:

    So, Doug, any commentary on the first week of the Zimmerman trial?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 13

  9. anjin-san says:

    So, Doug, any commentary on the first week of the Zimmerman trial?

    Said the breathless Zimmermann fanboy…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  10. Jenos Idanian says:

    @anjin-san: Just in case you’re curious (which I’m sure you’re not), so far the prosecution has demonstrated that one party in the fight was tossing around ethnic slurs and was the more physically aggressive in the fight… and it wasn’t Zimmerman.

    As I said earlier, it’s like the prosecution and defense are competing to see who can do the most to exonerate Zimmerman.

    For those who might want to actually get some coverage of the story, I recommend Legal Insurrection.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 20

  11. anjin-san says:

    @ Jenos

    Fom your lips to Zimmermanns’s rear…

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 1

  12. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    So, Doug, any commentary on the first week of the Zimmerman trial?

    Exactly, we’re all anxious to see how the Zimmerman trial relates to DOMA and Same Sex Marriage.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  13. anjin-san says:

    @ Jenos

    Maybe Zimmermann can get immunity from Daryl Issa. Look into it…

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  14. Tillman says:

    God’s law didn’t need protection, his poor virgin ears did.

    I swear, some people’s religion seems to depend fervently on how many others also believe in it. Which, unless I’m recalling the Gospel wrong, isn’t the point. At all.

    The name of my faith is being dragged through the mud by incompetents like this.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  15. Franklin says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    one party in the fight was tossing around ethnic slurs and was the more physically aggressive in the fight… and it wasn’t Zimmerman.

    But what does that have to do with the actual case? One person stalked the other with a gun, and killed him. That’s what the case is about. Not about somebody calling somebody bad names.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  16. PJ says:

    @al-Ameda:

    Exactly, we’re all anxious to see how the Zimmerman trial relates to DOMA and Same Sex Marriage.

    Whether Zimmerman will be able to marry his bunk mate in prison or not? (This after his wife leaves him for Jenos Idanian.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  17. al-Ameda says:

    @PJ:

    Whether Zimmerman will be able to marry his bunk mate in prison or not? (This after his wife leaves him for Jenos Idanian.)

    Of course. Sometimes I do overlook the obvious.
    Thanks.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  18. dennis says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Makes me wonder what an atheist would swear on.

    Probably on the honor of his word.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  19. Oh and BTW, Pennsylvania’s first openly gay legislator is Mike Fleck, nor Brian Sims. Sims, however, is the first openly gay legislator ELECTED in Pennsylvania as Mike Fleck only came out in December and thus has not stood for re-election since his announcement.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  20. An Interested Party says:

    So, Doug, any commentary on the first week of the Zimmerman trial?

    Oh, you mean commentary like this? Hmm, not a particularly auspicious start for Zimmerman…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  21. Chris Berez says:

    If only we had an amendment to our constitution that not only allowed people to have freedom of speech without interference from government, but also made sure that religious dogma couldn’t be enforced on everyone via government…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  22. Jenos Idanian says:

    @An Interested Party: True, a crappy start for the defense. But that article was posted after only two days of testimony. It didn’t touch on the testimony on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday, when the prosecution called witness after witness that bolstered the defense’s case. Such as Martin’s girlfriend, who quoted Trayvon as calling Zimmerman a “creepy-ass cracker.” Or the neighbor, who clearly saw Martin atop Zimmerman and doing a full MMA-style “ground and pound” attack while Zimmerman was yelling for help.

    That’s just two. There are plenty more juicy tidbits over at Legal Insurrection…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 8

  23. anjin-san says:

    That’s just two. There are plenty more juicy tidbits over at Legal Insurrection…

    Mix this in with Kaitlyn Hunt and there is a real Par-tay going on in Jenos head…

    A 17 year old kid walking home with candy is shot dead and you are ranting about “juicy tidbits”

    Creep.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  24. Jenos Idanian says:

    @anjin-san: Hang on, I need to fire up my calculator utility just to count the significant elements you didn’t mention in the incident.

    Kind of like talking about how there was a nationwide manhunt for an actor just because he chose to mingle with the audience back in 1865. Or how FDR overreacted when some Japanese tourists got a bit too rambunctious while visiting Hawaii in 1941.

    So, does what you say constitute lying by omission and misleading?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 10

  25. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Kind of like talking about how there was a nationwide manhunt for an actor just because he chose to mingle with the audience back in 1865. Or how FDR overreacted when some Japanese tourists got a bit too rambunctious while visiting Hawaii in 1941.

    Kind of like suggesting that a kid wearing a hoodie in the rain deserves to be profiled as a danger to society.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  26. anjin-san says:

    Well sure Jenos – Treyvon Martin, John Wilkes Booth – pretty much birds of a feather in your book, eh? Booth was one of the great villains in history, and Martin was, well, a black person going about his lawful business…

    Do you have any more of those cool Martin “thug life” websites you can link to?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  27. I’m gone to tell my little brother, that he should also go to see this webpage on regular basis to obtain updated from most recent reports.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  28. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    \@anjin-san: Let me try it again, then.

    A 17 year old kid walking home with candy is shot dead

    A local resident, George Zimmerman, also suffered a broken nose and other head injuries.

    Just about the same amount of context you provided, sport…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 7

  29. anjin-san says:

    A local resident, George Zimmerman, also suffered a broken nose and other head injuries.

    Yep. A citizen going about his lawful business defended himself from an armed stranger who was following him. Sounds like “stand your ground” to me.

    How does that Zimmermann poster look over your bed Skippy?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  30. David in KC says:

    @Jenos Idanian: You know, if you want to talk about the Zimmerman trial, there are tons of places that are discussing it. Or maybe start your own blog, quit hijacking threads to suit your own inflated sense of self importance. It just shows that you are mentally shallow and immature. Grow up already.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  31. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @David in KC: You’re quite right; I apologize. My intent was to point out Doug’s attitude towards Zimmerman/Martin news — apparently good news is no news, where “good news” is defined as “good for Zimmerman,” to make the inverted construction accurate.

    I should not have let anjin pull me into yet another argument about what has and has not been established as factual, especially since he’s long confirmed his selective attention on the matter.

    Thank you for calling me out on this. I’ll stop arguing details of the case until there’s an actual posting on the topic. But given the way the trial’s gone so far and the authors’ tendencies to only tout stories that help the prosecution, that might be a while…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 8

  32. anjin-san says:

    @ Jenos

    You never get tired of embarrassing yourself, do you?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  33. Jenos Idanian says:

    @anjin-san: I apologized for my part. I guess you lack the basic self-awareness to acknowledge your own role. Or the courtesy and maturity to apologize.

    Plus, your statements show that you haven’t been paying attention to the Zimmerman trial since it started, because it’s the prosecution’s really tanking. It ain’t over, but if it was called right now, Zimmerman walks.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  34. anjin-san says:

    Or the courtesy and maturity to apologize.

    Ummm. No, I’m not going to apologize for you being a serial threadjacker. I will note that you do whine up a storm when others engage in a behavior you make a habit of.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  35. Jenos Idanian says:

    @anjin-san: I didn’t apologize to you, but the readership and authors in general. And I know you’d never apologize to me regardless of the circumstances.

    And here’s a bit more interesting stuff re: the Zimmerman trial. It’s Zimmerman’s re-enacting the incident for police, with a handy map showing the layout of the area. Thus far, the testimony of the prosecution witnesses pretty much holds up Zimmerman’s account.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  36. anjin-san says:

    I didn’t apologize to you, but the readership

    Yes Skippy, that is sort of obvious. You need to work on your reading comprehension. And its true, you apologize for being a jerk from time to time. But then you continue to be a jerk, so it does not really count.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  37. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: .You complain about my “hijacking” the thread, and yet I don’t see a single comment from you that is actually relevant to the original topic.

    Not that I can blame you. It was a really stupid and pointless topic anyway.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  38. anjin-san says:

    stupid and pointless

    There you go – stick with your skill set.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  39. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: So, you’re basically the soi-disant enforcer of the rules around here? Sort of OTB’s George Zimmerman?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  40. anjin-san says:

    @ Jenos

    Please refere to @anjin-san:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0