Sunday, April 15, 2018

#1997: Daryl Metcalfe

More lunacy in the state legislatures. Daryl D. Metcalfe has been a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives (12th district) since 1999 and is currently majority chairman of the House State Government Committee. “I was a Tea Partier before it was cool,” says Metcalfe. He has also toyed with birtherism. In 2018 he even suggested that he was sympathetic to the crisis actor conspiracy surrounding the Parkland shootings.

Anti-gay measures and theocratic leanings
Beyond Pennsylvania, at least, Metcalfe is most famous for his vigorous opposition to gay people. He has for instance tried to cut state funding to universities that offer domestic partner benefits, and in 2009 he sued a gay New Hope couple for attempting to get a marriage license. That same year, he opposed a State Assembly resolution declaring October “Domestic Violence Awareness Month,” claiming that the bill “had language in it that brought men into the situation”, which he took to be evidence of the power of a nefarious homosexual agenda.

Metcalfe was long the leader of the fight against gay marriage among Pennsylvania lawmakers. In 2011, he introduced House Bill 1434 that would amend the state constitution stating to ban same-sex marriage and any substantial equivalent. That one failed, and subsequent reintroductions of the bill the following years had fewer and fewer cosponsors. In 2013 Metcalfe led an effort to impeach the state’s attorney general for “misbehavior in office” and “violation of her constitutional, statutory, and ethical duties” because of her pro-gay views and unwillingness to defend Pennsylvania’s version of the Defense of Marriage Act because of its obvious unconstitutionality.

In June 2013, after DOMA had been ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, openly gay state representative Brian Sims attempted to make a speech in the Pennsylvania House in support of the decision. The anti-gay fraction, led by Metcalfe, promptly blocked him from speaking, with Metcalfe saying that “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.” It’s worth noting, in passing, that Metcalfe has also decried Muslims because they “don’t recognize Jesus Christ as God.”

In December 2017 Metcalfe made national news when he reacted to a colleague touching his arm while speaking to him, saying “I’m a heterosexual. I have a wife. I love my wife. I don’t like men as you might so stop touching me all the time. Keep your hands to yourself. If you want to touch somebody, you have people on your side of the aisle that might like it. I don’t.” The incident definitely got awkward. Keep in mind that Metcalfe controls a committee that oversees civil rights legislation.

Environmental issues
As behooves a wingnut with a penchant for conspiracy theory-thinking (gay agenda), Metcalfe is also a global warming denialist. For instance, in 2009 Metcalfe criticized Operation FREE (a coalition of veterans and national security organizations that promotes environmental issues), saying that “as a veteran, I believe that any veteran lending their name, to promote the leftist propaganda of global warming and climate change, in an effort to control more of the wealth created in our economy, through cap and tax type policies, all in the name of national security, is a traitor to the oath he or she took to defend the Constitution of our great nation!” It is instructive to note the inability to separate scientific investigations from politics. Metcalfe has of course, as illustrated above, a rather tenuous grasp of that Constitution thing he keeps referring to.

White nationalism
In 2015, Metcalfe invited white nationalist Robert Vandervoora to testify before Pennsylvania’s state government committee, a move that earned him some criticism. Metcalfe responded to critics by arguing that white “nationalism” is not white “supremacy”. This is not a good line of defense. Metcalfe’s argument was, however, praised by white supremacists at the neo-nazi site The Daily Stormer.

Diagnosis: And again the good people of Pennsylvania demonstrates a serious case of poor judgment. Metcalfe is a delusional conspiracy theorist not fit for cooking his own food, but the people of Pennsylvania’s 12thDistrict apparently don’t see his lack of reason, judgment or rational thinking skills as a drawback.

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