It is by no means a secret that state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe is an opponent of LGBT rights. However, his actions this week highlighted just how deep his homophobia runs — and the real-life implications of such attitudes on LGBT Pennsylvanians.
At a meeting of the House State Government Committee this week, a Democratic state representative was debating Metcalfe about a roadways bill when he lightly touched the Republican lawmaker’s arm while emphasizing a point. Metcalfe became visibly irate and launched into a tirade: “Look, I’m a heterosexual. I have a wife. I love my wife. I don’t like men as you might.”
Metcalfe went on to caution Rep. Matthew Bradford that if he wanted to “touch somebody, you have people on your side of the aisle who might like it. I don’t.”
While Bradford and many other legislators in the room seemed bemused and bewildered by Metcalfe’s outburst, the incident speaks to a much larger, serious issue.
Metcalfe chairs the committee, which for years has been sent proposed legislation to add LGBT protections to the state’s nondiscrimination law. And, for years, it has languished, primarily because of Metcalfe. When Rep. Dan Frankel re-introduced the bill earlier this year, he urged Speaker Mike Turzai (R) to assign it to any committee but Metcalfe’s to give the legislation a fair chance — to no avail.
Whatever is motivating Metcalfe’s extreme homophobia is Metcalfe’s problem — it shouldn’t be the problem of Pennsylvanians. Each lawmaker serving this commonwealth brings an element of the personal into the professional, but those that allow their blind bigotry to dictate the actual rights afforded to citizens need to be taken to task.
Metcalfe is running roughshod with the lives and livelihoods of LGBT Pennsylvanians, and Republican leadership is allowing it.
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