Pennsylvania lawmaker calls fellow rep gay after he touched his arm
Posted December 6, 2017 12:02 p.m. EST
Updated December 6, 2017 5:12 p.m. EST
WASHINGTON (CNN) — A Pennsylvania lawmaker is under fire after insinuating that a fellow state representative was gay for touching his arm during a committee meeting.
The incident, captured on a video feed, took place during a state government committee meeting in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Tuesday night. Republican state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe was chairing a meeting about land use legislation when state Rep. Matthew Bradford, a Democrat who was speaking at the time, touched his arm.
"Look, I'm a heterosexual," Metcalfe said. "I have a wife, I love my wife. I don't like men, as you might. ... Stop touching me all the time," he said.
"It's like, keep your hands to yourself. Like if you want to touch somebody, you have people on your side of the aisle that might like it. I don't," Metcalfe told Bradford during the meeting.
Bradford began chucking and turned red. A fellow representative can be seen hiding her face with her hand and shaking her head in disbelief.
"OK, we're officially off the rails," Bradford said amid nervous chuckles throughout the meeting room. He said his intent with the arm touch was to "beg for your permission for about 30 seconds."
Metcalfe replied: "Then beg, don't touch."
He came under immediate criticism for the comments, and the Pennsylvania Democratic Party has called on Metcalfe, who has served in the statehouse since 1999, to resign from office.
CNN has reached out to both Metcalfe and Bradford's offices. Asked Wednesday if it was inappropriate to respond as he did, Metcalfe told CBSPhilly, "the homosexual crowd thinks that they can, you know, flaunt their sexuality routinely throughout the course of the day and throughout our government now and debate after debate."
In an interview with TribLive following the incident, Metcalfe said Bradford has repeatedly been asked to stop unwanted touching, and that the public shaming was meant to get the representative's attention.
Bradford, who is married to a woman and has four children, also told TribLive that Metcalfe's interruption was "awkward" and "really inappropriate," adding that "I speak with my hands. I've tried to calm him down."
Metcalfe has reportedly been a longtime opponent of same-sex marriage and homosexuality. In 2015, he called the Supreme Court's decision to legalize same-sex marriage "judicial tyranny."
"It shows what tyrants they are when they think that they can place themselves above God's law, above natural law, and above the will of the American people as we've seen it expressed in state after state after state," he told PennLive at the time.