Story updated to includes Sims' correct quote
An effort to silence a state lawmaker who wanted to speak about the U.S. Supreme Court's rulings on gay marriage sparked a series of eruptions on the House floor.
Rep. Brian Sims (D., Phila.) - the state's first openly gay elected lawmaker - rose on Wednesday to speak about the landmark decision overturning the Defense of Marriage Act, and was silenced by the objections of other unnamed lawmakers.
In an interview with WHYY-FM, the legislature's most outspoken conservative lawmaker, Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R., Butler), acknowledged he was among those who objected.
Metcalfe said Sims' comments would be an "open rebellion against "God's law."
That prompted Sims, who took office in January, to rise again at the end of the day's session on Thursday to ask that House Speaker Sam Smith (R., Jefferson) reprimand Metcalfe for what he called his offensive comments.
"A few months ago I reminded this house that we put our hands on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution not the other way around. What I did was in no way against the law of any God," said a visibly shaken Sims. "I can't call anyone a bigot, a homophobe or racist. but language used against me does not live up to the standards of this body."
As Democrats cheered for Sims. Smith said it was not parliamentary procedure for the speaker to reprimand someone for remarks made off the floor.
Smith told Sims he could file a resolution on the issue or a complaint with the Ethics Commission, which Sims said he would.
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