Waymon Hudson

Minnesota's Gay Republican Senator Koering Answers Questions about his Anti-Equality Vote with Nasty Email

Filed By Waymon Hudson | February 20, 2009 2:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Marriage Equality, Politics, The Movement
Tags: Family Protection Act, Ken Swecker, Koering, Minnesota, Paul Koering

Wow. If this is "damage control", I'd hate to see him stick his foot in his mouth!

13.jpgState Sen. Paul Koering, R-Fort Ripley Minnesota, is answering those who are asking him about his statement that he will not vote for the Marriage and Family Protection Act, a bill that would make Minnesota's marriage laws gender-neutral, allowing same-sex couples many of the rights currently denied by Minnesota statute.

And let's just say the response is a little... odd, to say the least. And angry. And mean. And rude. And not going to help with his image problems...

The angry missive is apparently a form letter fired off by his Legislative Assistant to everyone who emailed. It basically attacks anyone who is "wasting the senator's time" with their concerns about his vote and hides behind a weak "it's the will of his constituents" argument. You know, because leaders shouldn't lead or do the right thing- just bend to the mob mentality of small minds.

Read the entire email response after the jump...

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

He's free on the weekends.

Very Sincerely, every word of it,
Ken Swecker

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.

Especially lovely is Mr Swecker's "PS"- don't feel special, this anger is just a form letter.

I also find it funny how the legislative assistant says we'll probably use this letter (and by we, I assume he means LGBTs? Media? Bloggers?) to "make him out to be a bad person". Actually, I think the letter, the tone, and the shoddy reasoning do that just fine.

I am amazed with the argument that the State Legislature can only handle one thing at a time (I especially love the use of kids asking their parents why they are hungry? Because gays can marry, of course!).

The basic idea that a leader can't vote for something that is right, or has to vote for the mob rule, is a flawed concept as well. While I wonder if Koering and Swecker have done any kind of polling of his constituents to see how they feel on this issue (or if they are simply using it a as a shield for their own biases), the issue is actually pointless. The assumption in that argument is that the LGBT community is not part of "of the people, for the people and by the people." Yes, everyone can have a fair shake, except us.

I could tear this email apart, line by line (which Projector Ray does a great job of over at The Stumbling Block, so check it out), but I think the tone and message of this email is clear.

So I hope Koering and his minions are happy in the choices they've made and in the tight little closet of homophobia they are sitting in. It's just sad he is trying to drag all of Minnesota in there with him.

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Jeffrey Smith | February 20, 2009 2:36 PM

I'm almost speechless. The tone and the inclusion of the phone number makes me wonder if the assistant was deliberately trying to get himself fired.

All it is saying is that, he likes the perks of being a state senator and doesn't want to risk losing his little patina of power over an issue that he knows he would be crucified on in the next Sunday sermon.

I can't fault him for his response or his vote. I did not see it as rude at all. The aide was doing as he was told, which is explaining why the senator took the position he did, and points to the fact that the proponents of this bill obviously did not do their homework, or legwork, to try and garner support for it in the senators district. The only reason you are making any kind of big deal about it is because he is openly gay.

The reason that the system is set up the way it is, and off and on it has worked for the most part, is that when the tyrrany of the majority falls too heavily, then it is the courts job to see that individual rights are respected despite what the majority thinks is right.

Education and the courts, that is where equality will be won, not by throwing stones at someone who is just doing his job.

I got this e-mail as well and shot a response back immediately.

One of the things that came out of our 5 minutes conversation was he also didn't like the term 'marriage' when it came to gays.

By the way, his cell phone number is 218-820-9134

sammyseattle | February 20, 2009 5:42 PM

Did you not read the full text? The email was exceptionally rude and disrepectful. If anyone at my firm were to send an email like this to anyone within or outside of the firm they would face immediate termination.

In 1964, a courageous majority in Congress decided it was time to lead, not follow, and dragged America into the 20th century by passing the Civil Rights Act. It was said the Democratic Party lost the South that day. But they did the right thing, they were leaders, and all Americans should be grateful.

The Minnesota Legislature once led by passing the most comprehensive GLBT rights law in the country, but they'd obviously never do so now. Legislators, and party chairs for that matter, lack balls these days, and couldn't lead a high school football team to a whorehouse. The state legislature in my state, in both parties, is the most Bible-whipped bunch of Caspar Milquetoasts, you'd never believe it.

So, this clown of a gay man doesn't surprise me. Nothing worse than the self-loathing behavior of a LCR member.

Why should I care that a rural rep is not taking orders from Castro Street? The Community has more strategic battles to fight. And it might be better pr for us if a gay rep does a good job and faithfully represents his voters.

Whoa. Let’s not get too carried away here. This very minor Republican bigot and his aide aren’t that special. They oppose same sex marriage but so do most Democrat office holders including Obama. And for the same reason; it's unpopular with the torch and pitchfork christers. If anything Obama is worse. He used to support same sex marriage but did an abrupt about face when he learned that Dobson, Warren and der Pope didn't like that.

The Democrats are in their bus, Obama’s in the driver’s seat and they’re patrolling the roads looking for targets. Democrat party supporters of same sex marriage, an inclusive ENDA and repeal of DOMA and DADT ought to look both ways before crossing the street or they’ll . Watch out or you'll get run over, again and again and...

Even Time Magazine figured out that Obama's a bigot. Their opinion writer John Cloud says Rick Warren may occasionally sound more open-minded than Jerry Falwell, another plump Evangelical who once played a prominent role in U.S. politics. But he's not. Gays and lesbians are angry that Barack Obama has honored Warren, but they shouldn't be surprised. Obama has proved himself repeatedly to be a very tolerant, very rational-sounding sort of bigot. He is far too careful and measured a man to say anything about body parts fitting together or marriage being reserved for the nonpedophilic, but all the same, he opposes equality for gay people when it comes to the basic recognition of their relationships. He did throughout his campaign, one that featured appearances by Donnie McClurkin, a Christian entertainer who preaches that homosexuals can become heterosexuals. Link here for his full comments:

We're kidding ourselves if we think we need to WAIT until everyone "likes us enough" for civil rights. Every little fight we do in every states seems to suck the lifeblood out of a possible unified national movement. (sigh)

Are you FED UP with “having to be liked enough” for equality?

Do you believe equality is OURS TO TAKE and refuse to beg for it?

Amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Gender Expression!

EQUALITY TAX REVOLT - Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | February 20, 2009 10:46 PM

Brandi, his assistant already said it would go to trash so save your time. Being a hypocrite about taking a personal stand based upon conscience is not at all new.

Consider just J. Edgar Hoover.

All politics are local and all local politicians run scared.

Birds of a feather and whatnot. The LA has a good boss in this situation. They're both asshats.

Yes John, we do need an 'Equality Tax Revolt'. We should take on 'every' church who pokes their noses in any political arena and demand that their 501c3 status be stripped from their greedy little paws.

Yet, I wonder if 'our own' has the guts to do anyting about it. This is where the real fight/revolution should be.

This is a very clear picture. He has his assistant give a lame explanation of his his thoughtless decision. Everything here tells me Senator Koering, contrary to the postiche heralds of his assistant, is a sterling example of the common coward.

He sounds like one of hundreds of gay and lesbian pundits talking about dropkicking transfolk from ENDA, SONDA, etc yadda yadda.

Curiously, the gay community seems quicker to criticize him than themselves over their past trans-whoopsie.


HAHAHAHHA. Love that email. "The senator must vote the way his constituents really want him to vote, not the way all these emails from his constituents say they want him to vote. You people who I've never met have no right to participate in the democratic process, and that makes it more democratic."

My sincerest thanks for your linking to my rebuttal... thank you for that. Will we be seeing him fall like Buttars? Let's hope so.