On Wednesday, Representative Brian Sims (D-Phila.) rose to speak during the unanimous consent portion of the PA House session. He began to speak in praise of the historic marriage equality rulings handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday, but was cut off with a procedural tactic by fellow Representative and self-styled Tea Partier Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler).
It shouldn’t matter, but Rep. Sims is the first openly gay lawmaker in Pennsylvania history.
Rather than apologize for the slight, or just be satisfied at having silenced a political opponent, Rep. Metcalfe doubled down and let his bigotry all hang out:
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.
Rep. Sims’s response was far more dignified: he introduced legislation to provide civil marriage equality for same-sex couples in Pennsylvania. In a prepared statement, Rep. Sims said:
After Wednesday’s decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court, it is past time for Pennsylvania to join the 12 states – soon to be 13 because of California – and the District of Columbia that already provide this basic measure of equality and dignity to their residents.
Rep. Sims also requested the Legislature formally admonish his colleague for his remarks, but it declined to do so because its rules only apply to statements made on the floor of the House. One hopes the good people of Western Pennsylvania hold Mr. Metcalfe accountable since his fellow legislators can’t or won’t.
Daryl Metcalfe, another Infamous Pennsylvanian.
Back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, WPSX-TV had an in-house series called The Pennsylvania Game. It was a trivia show about Pennsylvania history. The prize was usually a gift basket with various Pennsylvania-based products in it, so we’re not talking high-stakes. They also had a segment – sort of their Final Jeopardy! – in which the contestants had to guess the identity of a famous Pennsylvanian. The other questions in the game were multiple choice, but this was open-ended. There were three clues given throughout the show, and after each clue the contestants would write down what they thiought the identity of the Mystery Pennsylvanian was. The earlier the correct guess is made, the more points were awarded. I’m probably not doing it justice in my description. It really was a fun, informative show. You can still find episodes buried in the WPSU/WPSX website. Here’s one, Episode #1208, from January 18, 2004.
That was a lot of words to get to my point: there are just as many Infamous Pennsylvanians as there are famous Pennsylvanians. Some may say there are more, but that’s arguing over hyperboles. Which leads me to my newest feature: Infamous Pennsylvanians. It will be an occasional series. Anyone is eligible, living or dead. My only criteria is that the person have been born in or lived a significant portion of his or her life in Pennsylvania (i.e., long enough to consider one’s self a “Pennsylvanian.”) Some will be historic figures, other lesser-known regional people, and no doubt a few will be modern celebrities or, in the case of my first pick, by virtue of having popped up on my news aggregator as I was drafting this post, a Fox News Entertainer.
Allentown native and Lehigh University Graduate Andrea Tantaros has her own radio show. On Wednesday, she encouraged viewers of The Five to punch Obama voters in the face. In lieu of an apology, Tantaros took to the airwaves of her own radio show on Thursday to explain that “To be clear, I didn’t say punch Obama in the face” and said to a caller: “if anyone that you know who voted for President Obama, smack ’em down.”
Andrea Tantaros, another Infamous Pennsylvanian.