Target: Pennsylvania State Representative Daryl Metcalfe
Goal: Condemn state legislator for silencing another legislator for being openly gay.
An openly gay legislator planned to speak to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, but was blocked from making any remarks by his conservative colleague, who cited sexuality and religion as motivation for the silencing.
Representative Brian Sims planned to speak to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives about the Supreme Court decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act and to therefore provide federal recognition and benefits to state-recognized same-sex married couples. Although Sims is openly gay, his motivation for speaking was to highlight only how important the decision was, not to highlight the lack of civil rights for same-sex couples in Pennsylvania.
As Representative Sims began to speak, however, Representative Daryl Metcalfe interrupted and objected, blocking Representative Sims from making his speech. Two other legislators hoping to comment on the Defense of Marriage Act were also blocked from speaking, one of whom is also openly gay. Metcalfe’s motivations for blocking these individuals for speaking were religious — he later stated that he did not think it was appropriate for Sims and the other two legislators to openly speak against “God’s Law”.
In a country that celebrates the separation of church and state, these motivations for blocking a Representative from speaking are inappropriate and insulting. Representative Sims and his other two colleagues had the right to comment on the Supreme Court decision about the Defense of Marriage Act, regardless of their personal sexuality or their opinion on the decision. Representative Metcalfe, similarly, had the right to disagree with their speeches because of his own personal religious beliefs, but not to strike down their opportunity to express their beliefs.
By signing the petition below you will be condemning Representative Metcalfe for his offensive disregard for Representative Sims’ right to speak, regardless of religious background or sexuality.
Dear Representative Metcalfe,
The separation of church and state is an important facet of United States government and society. As United States citizens, we are afforded and guaranteed protection of our freedom of religion, speech, and opinions, and as such we should be allowed to act upon these freedoms. Blocking someone else from sharing their beliefs because they don’t align with our own is in direct opposition of the freedoms for which the United States government stands, and will not be tolerated.
I am writing you in anger of the way you treated your colleague Representative Sims when he wanted to speak on the Defense of Marriage Act in the Legislature. Actively blocking an openly gay individual from speaking on the Supreme Court decision on the Defense of Marriage Act is insulting. However, it becomes even more insulting when you cite your own personal religious beliefs as the reason for offending your colleague – why should your beliefs be protected and expressed, but not the opinions of Representative Sims? I am very displeased with your actions in regard to this situation, and I insist that you apologize to the Legislators you silenced and refrain from pitting your religious beliefs against others in a government forum in the future.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: russavia via Wikimedia Commons