Role models of greatness.

Here you will discover the back stories of kings, titans of industry, stellar athletes, giants of the entertainment field, scientists, politicians, artists and heroes – all of them gay or bisexual men. If their lives can serve as role models to young men who have been bullied or taught to think less of themselves for their sexual orientation, all the better. The sexual orientation of those featured here did not stand in the way of their achievements.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Brian Sims (update)

On June 27, out and proud Pennsylvania Rep. Brian Sims (182nd Dist.) joined Rep. Steve McCarter (D-154th Dist.) In stating that they would introduce a bill to allow Pennsylvania to join the 13 states and Washington, DC, that now have marriage equality (at present Pennsylvania and New Jersey are the only northeastern states that do not allow gay marriage). Anti-gay legislator Rep. Daryl Metcalfe sought to silence Sims on the House floor when Sims tried to speak about the Supreme Court decision on DOMA and Prop. 8. Metcalfe said Sims was acting in “open rebellion against what the word of God has said, what God has said, and just open rebellion against God’s law*.” Sims states that the bipartisan support he saw after that incident was encouraging. With the legislature now in recess, Sims and McCarter plan to introduced the marriage equality bill in early fall.

Three things you don’t know about Brian Sims:

“I play the harmonica...I can walk on my hands, and I still hold Pennsylvania’s bench-press record. I pressed 500 pounds in college and every year I get a call from a school saying that somebody’s going to break my record, but so far they’ve all failed.”

*Note from your blogger: While I support Mr. Metcalfe’s right to his religious beliefs and opinions, shouldn’t this guy be at least familiar with the U.S. Constitution and its intentional separation of church and state in the First Amendment? As authors of the constitution, both James Madison and Thomas Jefferson wrote and spoke of the “total separation between church and state,” and their writings were used in the first legal test cases. As far back as 1797, the U.S. Senate ratified a treaty with Tripoli that stated in Article 11:

“As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen (ed.: Muslims); and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan (ed.: Muslim) nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.”

To this day I keep this quote stored on my cell phone, and I have cited it many times when conversing with ignorant right-wingers. I just ask if they are aware of the language of our nation's Treaty with Tripoli of 1797, then I whip out my phone and read it. Shuts them up every time. Just a suggestion.

It was not always so. Myself a native Virginian, I know from studying history that the official church of the State of Virginia was the Anglican Church, to which tithes had to be paid during the 17th and 18th centuries. Presbyterians, Baptists and so forth were allowed to gather for worship, so long as they continued to pay tithes in support of the Anglican Church. These tithes were suspended in 1776 and never restored, and today, of course, Virginia has no state religion.

That said, legislative and religious bodies continue to react to one another. Although I live in Virginia along the shores of the Potomac, I can see the great mass of National Cathedral from Lynn Street upon exiting my building’s parking lot. Situated high atop Mount St. Alban, the cathedral pealed its bells for an hour beginning at noon on June 26, celebrating the Supreme Court’s decisions on DOMA and Prop. 8. Take THAT, Rep. Metcalfe.

My original blog post about footballer turned lawyer turned activist turned politician Brian Sims can be found here:


  1. I love this site, and would like to suggest singer Rob Halford from Judas Priest, first heavy metal singer to come out, and Tchaikovsky, as additions to your very interesting texts.

  2. This subject is very interesting. I am italian, so you can imagine how we can feel the influence of the church in our government policy. I myself am laic (as the state should be) and so I never understand why the church should interfere with parliamentary laws. the relationship state-church in our country is very complicated, always been. Our constitution says that the italian state and the church are both indipendent and sovereign, meaning that in our country the church has the same power of the state even if their spheres of influence are different (big lie). The Church is also politically indipendent inside the Vatican State (I wonder why a church should have a state) but also has a big autonomy inside Italy. From my point of view this is the reason why my country is still so retrograde by which I mean against political and social progress.
    As for what mr Metcalfe have said, there will be so many millions of objections.
    Sorry for writing so much, it's just a subject I really feel.
    by the way i loooove your blog

  3. Dear Mr anonymous Italian - many people have both been harmed and aided by the Christian religion. Historically, every society on earth had a religious component to it. Takes centuries for man to evolve. But lest you be too hasty criticizing the Catholic Church, consider what would replace it - many secular governments (and religions) are worse.