Gay Marriage | Minnesota | News | Paul Koering

Gay MN Senator Koering's Office Sends Offensive Blanket Email:
Same-Sex Marriage a 'Pointless Issue'

An aide to openly gay Minnesota senator Paul Koering has responded to letters about his recent decision not to support a marriage equality measure in the state with an offensive blanket email calling same-sex marriage a "pointless issue" that doesn't deserve the senator's time.

Towleroad reader Brendan Davis, who writes the blog Faces of Us, sent me this email exchange:

Koering This was Davis' email to Koering's office:

Senator Paul Koering District 12
131 State Office Building
St. Paul, MN 55155-1206
Phone:651-296-4875 Brendan Davis 
2/18/2009 2:44 PM

>>> Senator Koering, My name is Brendan Davis and I am a 21 year old gay male from Marietta, GA. I know what you're thinking: 'Why does someone from Georgia care about our laws up here in Minnesota?! Mind your own business!' I wish it were that easy. It is my firm belief that members of the LGBT community should receive equal rights under the law in ALL FIFTY states, and anytime something like the Marriage and Family Protection Act is voted down, it hurts the entire community. I understand that you may feel the need to vote with your party on issues like this, but sometimes the opportunity comes up to tell young kids who may be struggling with their sexuality that being gay is OK. Telling them that you support their equal rights should they ever decide to get married is one of those ways. As I'm sure you know from experience, it's not always easy to grow up gay, and any way that you can tell a kid that it's alright helps. Please reconsider your vote.

And this is the response Davis received:

"My name is Ken Swecker, Senator Koering's Legislative Assistant.

"Senator Koering and I both would like to respond to the e-mails we've been receiving regarding his intention to not vote in favor of Senate File 120. I am currently responding to the e-mails to give you the Senator's home phone number so that you might call him over the weekend and speak with him personally on the matter. This much he asked me to do. To add to that, as a personal statement, is to say that SF 120 is something that the majority of the People of Senate District 12, the People that he was elected to represent, do not favor this piece of legislation. In case you have forgotten, we are a government of the People, by the People, and for the People. He was not elected serve his personal interests.

"I personally believe that instead of sending e-mails full of threats and hateful words you should take his example to heart and congratulate him on being a legislator who cares more about what the People of his district want than what he may want personally. You and I both know that this is a rare quality to find, and just because this is contrary to how you wish for him to vote, you must remember and respect he is here to represent the interests of his rural Minnesota constituents who voted him into office. As a constituent of his myself, I am happy to see him take non-personal votes on several issues. After all, I would not want another politician taking another vote that would serve his or her personal interests more so than the People's, would you?

"I can testify all day long about how much Senator Koering cares for the People of Senate District 12. He ran three consecutive times, being defeated the first two, and why did he put himself through so much hard work? Do you think it was because he needed another job? Absolutely not! He did it because he believed he was the best person to serve the People that he calls neighbors, friends, and family. And especially now, in a time like this, we are being bogged down with this completely pointless issue. There are People in Morrison and Crow Wing Counties, and across the State who are losing their jobs, their homes, their insurance, and were you to ask them if this is an issue that should take one second of precedent over these conditions they're facing every day, do you believe, do you honestly believe that they would say to you, 'Yes, please, waste the time of the State Legislature with a piece of legislation that will not help, but in fact, overshadow the current situation we're living in? Please, waste their time with this piece of legislation while I tell my son and daughter that mom and dad aren't hungry tonight?'

"I know very well that you will respond to this e-mail of mine with some probably quirky, snide, and very thoughtless comment that will make me out to be a bad person and threaten the Senator even more just as most of the absolutely tactless and disrespectful e-mails we've received have been written, but really, don't waste your time. We'll just put your e-mail where it belongs, in the trash.

"The Senator's home number is 218-###-#### He's free on the weekends.

"Very Sincerely, every word of it, Ken Swecker

"P.S. I hope you do not believe that this e-mail was written specific to the one that you sent, this is a blanket e-mail, being sent to everyone who has e-mailed us on this issue and I've already wasted too much time in responding to you. Good day."

Others have received the letter as well.

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  1. Let's be honest. Uncle Mary Koering shares the anti-gay views of his constituents.

    Posted by: MAJeff | Feb 20, 2009 9:12:09 AM

  2. Wow. What an ass. You'd think they could at least come up with two form letters: One to reply to respectful emails, like Davis', and one to reply to nasty emails.

    Posted by: Matt | Feb 20, 2009 9:15:30 AM

  3. Republicanism is such an awful disease.

    Posted by: JohnInManhattan | Feb 20, 2009 9:20:37 AM

  4. Shouldn't you redact the guys' home number. His aide is a bit prissy but no need to publish the guy's home #

    Posted by: James Withers | Feb 20, 2009 9:22:09 AM

  5. It seems to me that he was always like this and that he was FORCED out of the closet. Still living the closeted life because he would prefer to be back in the closet hating himself

    Posted by: jimmyboyo | Feb 20, 2009 9:25:27 AM

  6. I will be calling him this weekend.

    Posted by: Mario | Feb 20, 2009 9:25:34 AM

  7. Thanks for reminding me, JAMES!

    Senator Paul Koering (R)
    131 State Office Building
    St. Paul, MN 55155
    Phone: 651-296-4875 / 888-241-2036
    Fax: 651-296-5241

    4625 County Road 121
    Fort Ripley, MN 56449
    Phone: 218-829-0544

    Koering Delivery Service
    4625 County Road 121
    Fort Ripley, MN 56449
    Phone: 218-829-0587

    Posted by: JohnInManhattan | Feb 20, 2009 9:26:18 AM

  8. Folks might also want to consider supporting OutFront Minnesota:

    Posted by: MAJeff | Feb 20, 2009 9:37:39 AM

  9. While I don't agree with Koering and his staff, I understand representing his electorate. If the email ended there, it would have been fine. The post-script is unnecessary and inappropriate (as is "where it belongs, in the trash"). I'm surprised that this was thought to be an acceptable response to send to people.

    Posted by: White Label | Feb 20, 2009 9:40:15 AM

  10. Thanks for the information, JOHNINMANHATTAN. Maybe instead of emails that can be more easily deleted we should print out the emails, stick a stamp on them, and inundate his offices with bags and bags of mail (shades of Miracle on 34th Street, I know).

    Posted by: JerzeeMike | Feb 20, 2009 9:41:06 AM

  11. That response is absurd in its reasoning Voting aye for equal rights does not take a second more than voting nay, and equal and fair treatment for all families in his district is certainly not ``pointless.``

    When a kindergartener is in the hospital for an emergency appendectomy and needs his mom to come in and hold his hand, I`m sure he`ll see no logic in Koering`s view that she can be refused because letting the non bio mom in would have somehow ``taken time away`` from some heterosexual in another town who just got laid off.

    It is also so incredibly rude and obnoxious, that I have to wonder if this guy is for real. Did some juvenile delinquent sneak into the office and start sending e mails... I mean, if it is ascertained that this actually came from Koering`s office staff, the ignorance in that office is astounding.

    Posted by: GregV | Feb 20, 2009 9:44:02 AM

  12. This legislative assistant apparently needs an enema.

    Posted by: Brian | Feb 20, 2009 9:45:45 AM

  13. "you must remember and respect he is here to represent the interests of his rural Minnesota constituents who voted him into office"

    Someone email this self-loathing putz a copy of Burke's Speech to the Electors of Bristol

    Posted by: KipEsquire | Feb 20, 2009 9:46:53 AM

  14. The postscript was the sound of the Senators career ending. Responding to constituents is NEVER a waste of time for politicians (or at leas they should never admit it). The Office Fag that wrote that email should be fired immediately and new individual email replies should be issued to every email received. “Blanket email” usually means blanket insult. The Senator must not be too sharp if he thinks this is good for his re-election chances. What is up with his official portrait? Does he that it’s a flattering photo? Carb face with pursed lips- Liberace style.

    Posted by: ggreen | Feb 20, 2009 9:52:03 AM

  15. It is also so incredibly rude and obnoxious, that I have to wonder if this guy is for real. Did some juvenile delinquent sneak into the office and start sending e mails... I mean, if it is ascertained that this actually came from Koering`s office staff, the ignorance in that office is astounding.

    Welcome to the Minnesota Republican Party. The days of "reasonable" Republicans like Dave Durenburger or Arne Carlson ended years ago. Michelle Bachman and Ken Swecker are the rule, not the exception.

    (former Minnesotan here)

    Posted by: MAJeff | Feb 20, 2009 9:53:59 AM

  16. The aide and Mr.Koering missed a civics lesson along the way. Our elected officials (the representatives, as in representative democracy) have a responsibility to educate themselves on the issues and to lead. That's the wisdom of the whole system - it eliminates mob rule (which is what a pure democracy is) and moves society forward. Think LBJ and civil rights. It is convenient for Koering to hide behind the prejudics of his constituents - otherwise he'd lose his Republican meal ticket. I wonder how that works out on dates - a gay guy with no balls.

    Posted by: Jim | Feb 20, 2009 9:54:34 AM

  17. Ken Swisher needs to take a Business Writing class. It's documents like this that bring any politician's career to a flaming crash. And - maybe it's me - but the tone of the comments about The Senator are so fawning and he's so vehement about those who he sees as attacking really sounds like Ken is sleeping with the Boss.

    Posted by: bostonbeardad | Feb 20, 2009 9:57:16 AM

  18. When did our lawmakers forget that the United States is a Republic...NOT a democracy. If individual rights are up to the will of the majority then what's the point of out constitution? The argument of respecting the views of constituents does not apply in matters of basic rights...period.

    Posted by: Jonathan | Feb 20, 2009 9:59:46 AM

  19. In a "Majority Ruled" society, the "Minority" always loses. That's the way this "racism" is perpetuated.

    Posted by: Tup | Feb 20, 2009 10:10:10 AM

  20. Wow, that is not the kind of email that should be coming out of a politician's office, no matter the "hateful" emails that might be going in. Koering should fire that aide ASAP, at least for his own career.

    Posted by: Tyler | Feb 20, 2009 10:14:38 AM

  21. I agree with Jim, Jonathan, and Tup.

    What's the point of electing people at all? By his logic, there's no reason for him to have his job. Let the people vote on everything and the tally -- which could be done by a machine -- determines the vote. No brain needed! (QED)

    Posted by: KevinVT | Feb 20, 2009 10:15:28 AM

  22. Government by the people, for the people means government by ALL the people, for ALL the people. Not the majority; ALL people.

    Just because the majority of your constituents are bigots does not mean you should be one as well; just the opposite: you must represent the minority at all costs. You need to act and vote in a way that is just to *every person* in your district - even if they are completely alone. A single person is still a person and deserves his or her rights.

    ...Of course, that's not a good way to get re-elected, is it?

    Posted by: Welah | Feb 20, 2009 10:20:39 AM

  23. If the Senator represents ONLY those whom he sees as his constituents and makes no attempt to educate them and move his district into an age of enlightened reason then he has failed as a politician, as a man of reason and unfortunately as a Gay man! Obviously his district elected him as a gay man, and as such perhaps they are more enlightened then he believes. Or was he forced out after his election? His aide needs a lesson in speech writing and perhaps some sensitivity training!

    Posted by: alex in boston | Feb 20, 2009 10:21:58 AM

  24. Or was he forced out after his election?

    He came out in 2005. He's been re-elected twice since then (Senators in MN are up for election every 2 years).

    Posted by: MAJeff | Feb 20, 2009 10:26:31 AM

  25. Forward the reply to Rachel Maddow, Keith Olbermann and The Daily Show. They may have something to say about it.

    Posted by: David D. | Feb 20, 2009 10:30:26 AM

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