The Pennsylvania Democratic Party is calling for Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler County) to resign from the State Government Committee after going on a “random homophobic tirade” at a meeting Tuesday night. Rep. Matt Bradford (D-Montgomery County) reportedly touched Metcalfe’s left forearm while speaking to him. Metcalfe’s response? To suggest — no, accuse — his colleague of being gay.
“Look, I'm a heterosexual,” Metcalfe told Bradford, interrupting him mid-sentence to go on full defense. “I have a wife, I love my wife, I don't like men — as you might.”
Though a few laughs were heard — Bradford’s included — Metcalfe didn’t stop there, and he didn’t look amused either.
“But stop touching me all the time," he said. "Keep your hands to yourself. If you want to touch somebody, you have people on your side of the aisle who might like it.”
“Ok, we’re officially off the rails,” Bradford then announced the to room. The whole exchange was captured on camera.
From a young age, we’re taught to mind the personal space of others. And Bradford, who has a wife and four children, claims his actions weren’t meant to offend. He later told TribeLIVE.com that it's common for him to talk with his hands, especially when he's trying to calm Metcalfe down, something he says happens often.
At the meeting, he assured Metcalfe: “My intent was just to beg for your permission for about 30 seconds,” to which Metcalfe replied: “Then beg, don’t touch.”
Metcalfe told TribeLIVE.com that he “doesn’t know” if he meant to imply Bradford is gay, but claims that his colleague has done it before, stating, “I know from him touching me all the time that he indicates he likes to touch men.”
A call for resignation
Rep. Brian Sims (D-Philadelphia), Pennsylvania’s first openly gay legislator who also sits on the State Government Committee, posted an outraged response to Facebook.
“You can't make this stuff up! The most homophobic, transphobic, racist, sexist, xenophobic member of our government is using legislative time, and tax payer dollars, to interrupt a meeting to announce his sexual orientation,” wrote Sims, whose office did not deny allegations that he’d thrown papers at Metcalfe after differences at a sanctuary cities hearing back in June.
Sims is an avid LGBT rights activist and Metcalfe, a conservative, is known for pushing back against such legislation. Metcalfe even acted to prevent Sims from speaking on the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage rulings in 2013 because his comments, Metcalfe said in an interview, would have been “open rebellion against God’s law.”
Sims is urging people to join in the push for Metcalfe's removal from the Pennsylvania House State Government Committee of which he is Republican Majority Chairman.
“For years Metcalfe has taken policy positions based on bigoted misconceptions and fear of minority groups and the LGBT community,” Pennsylvania Democratic Party spokesperson Brandon Cwalina said in a statement, “but today he has gone beyond the pale.”
Metcalfe, however, said he has no plans to resign, reports Pittsburgh's WPXI 11 News.
“I was stunned,” Bradford told Metro, saying what started as him being “slightly appalled” turned to “very appalled." That feeling, he said, "continues to linger today.” Bradford went on to state that Metcalfe has taken some “extreme views” in the past, and this isn’t the first time the Pennsylvania Democratic Party has fought for his resignation.
In August, they called for him to resign after he "refused to condemn the white supremacist-led violence in Charlottesville," stating white supremacy "has no place in society, let alone the state capitol."
In terms of what’s next for Metcalfe, Bradford told Metro he’s “probably too close” to the issue to comment. “I could never pretend to get into his mind,” Bradford continued. “But obviously it needs to be addressed.”