Last week, Daryl Metcalfe tried to rally the troops to impeach State Attorney General Kathleen Kane for derelicting her duty to defend the state DOMA law (Kane will not defend the state law in various court cases, most notably one led by the ACLU in federal court.)
In response, a few folks wrote in to the Post-Gazette and as it has been awhile since we last talked “Letters to the Editor” this seems opportune:
Phil LaRusse of Lower Burrell calls out the people of Butler County who reelect him:
He seems more like a creation of Hollywood. It’s as if some left-leaning studio was trying to portray a far-right redneck, backwater politician from Cousinmarry, Mississippi — a caricature.
The problem is, however, he is a real person. To make matters worse there are real people who keep voting for him.
Steve Siskin of Cecil suggests that in order to be consistent, Metcalfe should impeach himself?
Federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, have ruled that the federal Defense of Marriage law violated equal protection under the U.S. Constitution. I guess I don’t understand why that Supreme Court opinion should not be applicable to state DOMA-type laws. So, totally apart from the issue of Mr. Metcalfe wasting legislative time and taxpayer money on a partisan political stunt, in my opinion, Mr. Metcalfe should be impeaching himself, not Attorney General Kane, for violating his oath of office by not defending the U.S. Constitution.
And then there’s Reverend Bill Kemp of Penn Hills. His letter took my breath away. You should read his entire letter, but this final sentence was one of the few glimmers of hope I’ve ever heard in regard to Metcalfe.
I find Metcalfe’s power and influence frightening, perhaps the most concrete symbol of why I won’t be a full and equal resident of Pennsylvania in my lifetime. I was probably one of the few LGBTQ people in Pennsylvania to mourn the fact that openly gay Brian Sims defeated straight female ally Babette Josephs in the primary race because electing a white gay man meant “unelecting” a woman who also had the power and experience to reign in Metcalfe a bit. (That’s why Sims support of electing more women to office puzzles me, but perhaps I’ll take that up another day.)
We aren’t supposed to really talk about the fact that there’s no concrete plan to get HB 300 – the state non-discrimination bill – through the General Assembly. Metcalfe has consistently throttled the bill in his committee. The only solutions seem to be to force him to hold a committee hearing or to convince the Speaker to reassign the bill to another committee. Since the current speaker is not running for reeelection, I suppose being more aware of who the next Speaker might be would be helpful.
I can’t begin to imagine what pressure on Metcalfe would work. Someone recently told me that a lesbian couple invited him to dinner and found him agreeable if unwilling to bend. Of course he’s not going to bend – he has all of the power. I’m not sure he even believes his rhetoric, but it fuels his base. Inviting him to dinner sort of opens the door to humanize him in a “love the sinner/hate the sin” sort of way, but at least it was something. Everyone I know who lives in that neck of the woods made the choice because they wanted lower taxes, “better” schools or some sort of convoluted code-speak to get away from people of color in Allegheny County. No one that I know in that district has ever told me how they are actively working to hold Metcalfe accountable.
So maybe the answer is to simply wait for his time to pass as Reverend Kemp suggests?
From life inside the cage, it *feels* hopeless. 2014. No statewide rights. Lots of rhetoric, little concrete action.
But these letters … they are actionable, right? Maybe finding solace and support from Cecil and Lower Burrell makes more sense than from Harrisburg, the East End and reelection campaigns?