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Censure for Metcalfe

July 26, 2013 Letters to the Editor

A speech that must be delivered by the speaker of the Pennsylvania House:

Ladies and gentlemen of the House, I would be remiss if I did not address a recent unfortunate incident that occurred on the floor of this body.

On the basis that it would offend him as a Christian, the gentleman from Butler County shut off the microphone of an honorable, openly gay member who apparently wished to speak in support of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to recognize limited marriage rights of gay men and women.

Although this body contains many honorable individuals of the Christian faith, it is not, has never been, and shall never be The Christian General Assembly. It is a General Assembly of and for Christians, Jews, Muslims, those of other faiths, and those of no faith. We do not make judgments here about who has the right to speak. The fact that one’s views could be squelched in the people’s House is an embarrassment to me and to all who stand for the principle that even the speech with which we disagree is protected speech.

None of us need endorse gay marriage or gay unions, and I do not, but we must reinforce the tenet that those of varying views will come to this forum to argue for their principles. The fact that a debate was shut down on the basis of one member’s purported religious views is a disgrace, a new low for a House which is rightfully held in contempt by much of the public.

I ask for unanimous consent that the actions of the gentleman from Butler County be condemned.