A conservative anti-gay lawmaker in Pennsylvania made a scene at a recent committee hearing after he freaked out when a fellow lawmaker briefly touched his arm.
Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Cranberry Township), best known for his anti-LGBTQ activism, took issue with Rep. Matt Bradford (D-Worcester Township) laid a hand on his arm while making a point about a bill on land use.
“Representative Bradford,” Metcalfe said, “Look, I’m a heterosexual. I have a wife, I love my wife. I don’t like men, as you might. But stop touching me all the time.”
Laughter broke out in the chamber, as Bradford and several other representatives — from both sides of the aisle — seemed incredulous to Metcalfe’s overreaction.
“It’s like, keep your hands to yourself,” Metcalfe continued. “Like, if you want to touch somebody, you have people on your side of the aisle that might like it. I don’t.”
“Okay, we’re officially off the rails,” Bradford said as others in the chamber continued to laugh. “My intent was to beg for your permission [to talk] for about 30 seconds.”
“Then beg, don’t touch,” responded Metcalfe.
“I don’t know where we go from here,” Bradford responded, ceding his time.
Metcalfe attempted to defend himself in an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, accusing Bradford of “continually reaching out and touching me.” He said he has asked him to stop in the past, and contends that the gesture constitutes a form of battery.
“If someone touches another person, and they say, ‘stop touching me,’ and they don’t stop, that’s serious business,” he said.
Metcalfe has a long history of anti-LGBTQ views. He has decried marriage equality, even going so far as to invoke a legislative rule to prevent openly gay State Rep. Brian Sims from talking about the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act, because he did not like the content of Sims’ remarks, saying they were “open rebellion against God.”
In 2013, he called for the impeachment of former Attorney General Kathleen Kane for refusing to defend Pennsylvania’s statutory ban on same-sex marriage. In 2015, after the Supreme Court legalized marriage equality nationwide, he accused the justices of “judicial tyranny” setting themselves “above God’s law, natural law and the will of the people across this country.”
The Pennsylvania Democratic Party issued a statement calling for Metcalfe’s resignation.
“For years Metcalfe has taken policy positions based on bigoted misconceptions and fear of minority groups and the LGBT community, but today he has gone beyond the pale,” party spokesman Brandon Cwalina said in a statement. “We are again calling on Daryl Metcalfe to resign and to apologize to all Pennsylvanians for his ridiculously bigoted behavior.”
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