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A PA House divided on gay marriage and "God's law"

Does Daryl "Insert Outrageous Quote Here" Metcalfe (R., Butler) stay up nights imaging ways to offend people? Certainly, it doesn't take him too long. There are enough whoppers to publish his own Mao-like little red book, though Metcalfe would loathe the comparison.

This week, after the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, Rep. Brian Sims (D., Phila), the first openly gay member in the Pennsylvania legislature and one of only two out legislators — we're talking out of 303 elected officials, people, in the year 2013 — was granted unanimous consent Wednesday to speak on the House floor about the historic ruling. But instead of listening, halfway through his first sentence, Sims' was silenced by the shouts of other unamed legislators. And consent was withdrawn.

Metcalfe, not to be undone, admitted that he was one of the vocal protestors, telling WHYY-FM that Sims' comments would be an "open rebellion against what the word of God has said, what God has said, and just open rebellion against God's law."

Sims was not deterred. He and Rep. Steve McCarter (D., Montgomery) plan to introduce a measure in the state House this session allowing same-sex marriage in Pennsylvania, an uphill battle in a Commonwealth not known for progressive legislation.

"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. "Marriage equality has steadily grown, now standing at majority support in recent Pennsylvania polls. I believe that more and more legislators from both parties will decide to be on the right side of history."

But most likely not Daryl Metcalfe.

The House's jeers and Metcalfe's blistering comments have helped Sims' cause and elevated his profile, amd were reported by national news outlets while lighted up Twitter. Sims, who assumed office in January, is scheduled to appear Monday on MSNBC's Chris Matthews' Hardball, while his spokesman Mason Lane said "calls of support have been coming in from all over the country."

-- Karen Heller