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DOMA fallout on House floor

Published by Karen Langley on .

Fallout from the Supreme Court's DOMA ruling has been on display on the floor of the Pennsylvania House, where on Thursday an openly gay state representative asked colleagues to reprimand a member who had prevented him from speaking about the case.

Rep. Brian Sims, a Philadelphia Democrat, had attempted to address the House on Wednesday under "unanimous consent," but at least one member objected.

On Thursday, Sims, the first openly gay member elected to the House, stood under a different parliamentary rule to read from an interview Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, the conservative Republican from Cranberry, had given about the episode.

"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," Metcalfe had told WHYY of Philadelphia. 

"I think that my actions in no way have been against the law of any god, and I would ask that the maker of the comments be reprimanded for doing so," Sims said on the floor.

"My understanding of the rules of this body is that I could never call another member a bigot, a homophobe or a racist, nor would I," Sims continued. "But I do ask that this body recognize that the language that was used against me as a member does not live up to the standards set by this body."

Metcalfe told the Associated Press later Thursday that he stands by his remarks.

"For me to alllow him to say things that I believe are open rebellion against God are for me to participate in his open rebellion," he told the AP. "There's no free speech on the floor."

House Speaker Sam Smith told Sims his request would be addressed through an action of the Ethics Committee or a resolution of the House.

Sims said he has received supportive comments from members of both parties.

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