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:
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."