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Pennsylvania Dem silenced by opponent citing 'God's law'

Pennsylvania state Rep. Brian Sims (D)
Pennsylvania state Rep. Brian Sims (D)Associated Press

As is the case in many states, many in Pennsylvania are considering how to proceed in the wake of the Supreme Court's ruling striking down the Defense of Marriage Act, and on Wednesday, state Rep. Brian Sims (D) of Philadelphia rose to address the issue with his legislative colleagues.

But Sims, the first openly gay member elected to the state House, was not allowed to deliver his remarks -- one of his colleagues raised a procedural objection to block him from speaking.

And why is that? Republican State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, who prevented Sims from addressing the chamber on DOMA, explained himself this way:

"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.

Maybe now would be a good time to note that the separation of church and state still exists; American policymakers' ability to discuss Supreme Court rulings should not be based on one person's interpretation of "God's law"; and theocracies, as a rule, are not a good idea.

Pressed for further explanation by the Associated Press, Metcalfe didn't back down, adding, "For me to allow him to say things that I believe are open rebellion against God are for me to participate in his open rebellion. There's no free speech on the floor."

Do you ever get the feeling some folks just aren't cut out for public service?

Let's also note that two of Sims' Democratic colleagues rose to defend him, and they were blocked from speaking, too.

Update: Metcalfe is the same state lawmaker who argued in 2009 that any U.S. military veteran who supports combating climate change "is a traitor." In an email Metcalfe wrote at the time, he added, "Remember Benedict Arnold before giving credibility to a veteran who uses their service as a means to promote a leftist agenda. Drill Baby Drill!!!"