After taking the House floor on Thursday to speak about the Supreme Court's decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act, an openly gay Pennsylvania lawmaker’s remarks were blocked by his colleagues.
Rep. Brian Sims wanted to discuss the court’s ruling that the federal law barring the government from recognizing same-sex marriages legalized by states was unconstitutional, but state lawmakers used a procedural maneuver to silence him.
Rep. Daryl Metcalfe said he believed Sims' comments would be a violation of "God's law," the Huffington Post reported.
"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 all he wanted to do was point out the significance of the court's ruling.
"I wasn't planning on chastising anybody," Sims said. "I wasn't planning on discussing how far we have to come in Pennsylvania or that we really have no civil rights in Pennsylvania."
After being blocked by Metcalfe and others, Sims finally got a chance to speak.
"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," he said, referencing an earlier speech he had made. "What I did was in no way against the law of any God. 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 and fellow Rep. Steve McCarter have said they will introduce a measure allowing same-sex marriage in Pennsylvania.
"LGBT Pennsylvanians are seeing their neighbors in New York, Maryland and Delaware, among other states, now qualify for the approximately 1,000 federal rights and benefits that come with civil marriage and they are increasingly asking why they don't have those same rights, as well as the state rights and benefits," Sims said in a statement.