NO FREE SPEECH

PA Republicans Block Gay Legislator From Talking About DOMA Ruling

In Pennsylvania, free speech apparently doesn’t apply in the halls of democracy. When Pennsylvania State Rep. Brian Sims, who is openly gay, decide to talk on the House floor about the the Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality, Republicans objected and shut him down.

Sims, a Democrat and the state’s first out legislator, had just begin making his comments, when several Republicans took umbrage and stopped him. Two other Democrats tried to follow Sims and were also blocked from speaking. Under the legislature’s rules, a single member can stop another from talking if he or she objects.

“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.” Sims said that several Republicans apologized to him afterwards.

Rep. Daryl Metcalfe explained to WHYY that he objected to Sims comments for religious reasons.

“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.

If that’s the case, then the majority of Pennsylvanians are in open rebellion. A recent poll showed that 54% of state residents support marriage equality. Apparently, their point of view isn’t worth listening to in the state legislature.

Photo credit: BrianSims.com