This week it was reported that Downingtown’s own State Representative Brian Sims was going to introduce marriage equality laws here in Pennsylvania. Brian happens to be openly gay, and a really great guy from my hometown. As everyone is aware, last week the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, and in doing so held:
The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity. By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others.
In other words, the constitution forbids congress from passing laws based on discrimination. I thought we figured that out a long time ago, but whatever.
Why? Because according to Metcalfe:
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
Now, I don’t know about you, but God has never explicitly told me that homosexuality is wrong. I know it kinda sorta says it in the Old Testament, but let’s be honest… the the Old Testament says a lot of things that we don’t follow in a civilized society. Things like not eating shellfish, selling your daughters into slavery, beating your wife, not trimming your beard, and not wearing polyester.
As a theology minor, no one has ever been able to convince me there is a valid theological basis for discriminating against our gay brothers and sisters. My interpretation of the Bible is that Jesus would be ashamed that Christians are using His name to promote their bigotry and political agendas.
Nevertheless, even if you could make a valid argument that the Bible does frown on homosexuality, there is a huge problem called, um, the First Amendment. Last time I read it, it said:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances
Oh right, THAT First Amendment.
The United States constitution is clear – even if the Christian Bible does not approve of homosexuality, that is not a basis for passing a law against it. Because the United States does not follow “God’s law” (well, more accurately, what Daryl Metcalfe believes ‘God’s law’ is), it follows the U.S. Constitution.
Sims followed with an epic response to Metcalfe: namely, when Metcalfe took office, he swore an oath on the Bible to defend the constitution. He did not swear an oath on the constitution to uphold the Bible.
BOOM. (sorry, I am having trouble embedding the video. But you can watch Sims lay the smackdown live.)
What is deliciously ironic is that, like me, Metcalfe is a proponent of Second Amendment rights. Because yeah, the constitution protects our right to own guns, just like it protects a gay person’s liberty to marry whomever they love.
Metcalfe’s hypocritical and shameful attempt to attack our First Amendment rights (and gays’ constitutional rights), caused Chris Sawyer, a fellow libertarian, to write Metcalfe this epic letter:
Dear Representative Metcalfe:
I am a resident of this Commonwealth, a taxpayer, a consistent voter, and more importantly: a gun owner. My PA License to Carry Firearms ID is 51-00012743. I am a member of the National Rifle Association. I am also a member of the Gun Owners of America.
While I applaud your virulent support of Pennsylvania’s gun laws and your tireless effort to defend the Pennsylvania Uniform Firearms Act to ensure continuity throughout our Commonwealth, a recent event in the General Assembly gives me pause.
Rep. Metcalfe, you recently shut down Rep. Brian Sims (D-Phila) efforts to begin a preamble for a discussion of rights Rep. Sims believes Pennsylvanians should have. You hid behind the Almighty to justify shutting down a fellow Member of the House for nothing more than his wish to enter a speech into the Record. No bill or resolution or other official business was up for consideration at the time he rose. You yourself as well as plenty of other Members also conduct such speechifying in a respectful manner.
Despite your feelings to the contrary, this action yesterday to shut down Mr. Sims has not engendered admiration of you throughout the Commonwealth. Far from it. In fact, by attempting to silence another Member for not agreeing with your platform, you are actually benefiting and bolstering Rep. Sims and diminishing your own stature in the process.
I am sure this has not gone unnoticed by Rep. Fleck; who is the first openly gay member of the General Assembly, representing a county similar in population and characteristics to Butler, and is PAGOP.
Moreover Representative Metcalfe, your action has also brought negative light to supporters of the Second Amendment by this boorish behavior. The supporters of the Second Amendment are not uniform stereotypical rural Protestant evangelical Christians.
We are a multitude of different races, ethnicities, ages, orientations and religions. Fundamental Christianity is but a subset of all the Second Amendment supporters throughout your state.
It is frustrating to witness this behavior from you as a strong supporter of Second Amendment rights. To use procedural trickery to shut down debate and conversation within Pennsylvania on a topic that deserves open debate; then reach for demagoguery to justify it belittles the intelligence of your constituents who elected you to represent them and to those who support you across the Commonwealth.
May I remind you that you yourself have wanted open debate on this very subject. You have introduced an amendment every year since you became a Representative of the PA House to amend Pennsylvania’s Constitution. The General Assembly has allowed you to open that debate whenever you so chose. I also note this year HB1349 has a dwindling number of co-sponsors. Less than last year.
Should your rhetoric and behavior worsen, perhaps we as gun owners statewide should seek another legislator to be the primary face in Harrisburg for our Second Amendment rights.
With All Due Respect,