Scott Brown explained
Jan. 21, 2010 was the first time we invited Scott Brown to grant an interview or submit a guest opinion to address the LGBT community, via Bay Windows. Republican Brown had just defeated Democrat Attorney General Martha Coakley in a hotly contested race to replace the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D - MA). Over the next 682 days our staff called and emailed Scott Brown’s campaign and his Boston and Washington D.C. Senate offices. We began running a box on our front page counting the number of days we’d been requesting an interview or or guest opinion.
On Feb. 12, 2012, I visited a stop on the Senator’s campaign schedule and we had a pleasant conversation. He connected me with a staffer. Bay Windows removed the countdown box from the front page. Senator Brown submitted his guest opinion (read it here Guest Opinion: by U.S. Senator Scott Brown, (R-MA))
and it ran in last week’s issue. We ran his guest opinion on the front page because that’s where we ran the countdown box. (An earlier Q&A with Elizabeth Warren, the likely Democratic candidate, also ran on the front page.)
Letters to the editor and comments submitted to www.baywindows.com about Senator Brown’s opinion piece follow.
Readers’ reactions to Scott Brown: Web Comments
DAVID H [ Apr 08 ] - Here's a simple question for Senator Brown:
Do you support DOMA? Should it be illegal to fire someone just because he is gay?
Oh, wait, you will have to study the issue, right?
How about a simple issue on a simple moral issue?
When you can tell us that you sill support and work to pass a law that makes it illegal to fire someone based on their sexual orientation, THEN you can come to us and ask for our votes. Until then, ANYONE is more qualified than you.
One vote for repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell doesn't make up for an ENTIRE CAREER of voting against equality for GLBT people.
And it certainly doesn't make you a moderate.
PATRICK DRISCOLL [ Apr 06 ] - This guy couldn't find 5 minutes to contribute to the "It Gets Better Campaign" after every other member of the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation did. He only came around on Don't Ask, Don't Tell when it didn't matter and with re-election looming. He's given no substantive interviews to any gay press and was often fond of using the words "normal folks" when he ran in 2010. His party specifically singles out gays for discrimination in its party platform and its leadership, to which we assume he aspires, is firmly controlled by right wing evangelicals who regard us as less than. Any gay person who votes for this chump is enabling those who denigrate our very existence.
T. LEWIS [ Apr 06 ] - "I don’t come before you with a checklist of items promising that I will be an advocate for you on each and every one of them. My opponent has already started down that road, promising to support everyone’s pet project."
-So, human dignity and the ability to live life equally under the laws without oppression or discrimination is a "pet project". I don't think these politicians, especially on the Republican "conservative" side realize how awful life can be for gay people due to the false and highly destructive messages portrayed about them and also the great hurdles they face in everyday life situations in employment and family life. These are not "pet project" issues. These are very real, important, basic rights that everyone deserves. I'm tired of the rhetoric and the nonchalant attitude given to our people. And, I'm tired of the blind eye they give to the negative impacts on us when so many of these stresses and many times violent acts come to fruition. We don't deserve it and I won't be supporting "leaders" who make my life anything but equal in opportunity and experience. I'm not impressed with pandering, Mr. Scott Brown.
KEVIN FALLON [ Apr 06 ] - Let's at least be fair to Senator Brown for finally coming forward and printing something in Bay WIndows. While I don't feel he is much of a friend to the gay community these days, he is better than many others including the despicable Mitt Romney. That being said, this is too little too late. The DOMA law is an atrocity, passed during a much more homophobic era before any state had recognized same sex marriages (and sadly signed by Clinton as he was trying to be reelected to a second term and gain more support). He is totally silent about it here. It discriminates against federal benefits such as social security rights, joint tax filing, immigration rights of a foreign-born spouse, and inheritance tax treatment. I am an economic centrist and often feel the Democratic party is far too extreme, but when we have a qualified choice such as Ms. Warren I see no reason to vote for Senator Brown. And let's face it, he is a moderate vote in the Senate because as a Mass. senator he has little choice. It is not as if this state would ever elect a serious conservative (flip flopping comments by former Gov. Romney aside).
JIM JACOBS [ Apr 05 ] - This -- offering an opinion piece -- is all very well and good, but its content (simply a vote-for-me request for votes) and its timing (well, certainly not offered as a means of connecting with a constituency; rather it's just that it is election season and Mr. Brown is in a race for office against a credible contender, Ms. Warren) ... well, thanks Mr. Brown but I am unimpressed. Very unimpressed.
PAUL [ Apr 05 ] - Marriage equality is not a "pet project." It is about our civil rights. It is about our human dignity. It is about fairness and equality. This guest opinion is pathetic Mr. Senator. I bid you farewell.
AJ BOSTON [ Apr 05 ] - Sadly, no where does he try to express or explain any reason(s) for his "failure" to address the Bay Windows readership for over 600 days and when he does respond it's a stump speech... I've said it before and I will repeat it again "Too Little Too Late"!!
VALERIE [ Apr 05 ] - I've spent the last 16 years fighting for LGBT rights - especially the right to marry. Throughout, Scott Brown has been an enemy of the LGBT community - many may not know or may have forgotten but several of us remember his homophobia and homophobic tactics against fair-minded opponents.
Then, he wrote his book about his own sexual abuse - and this unfortunate experience has convinced me that his emotional and intellectual maturity about LGBT folks are in his mind, linked to those events; and hence I'm convinced that this has sealed his understanding and development as a human being, at this pubertal level of maturity - embodied by fear.
So, bottom line, LGBT people don't matter to Scott Brown. I don't matter and you don't matter. My life doesn't matter, your ability to work, our right to raise, provide for and protect our own families doesn't matter (unless we want to carry a gun and shoot perpetrators). All that matters is that Brown thinks that he is being "independent, bipartisan and "fair" -- too bad it's in his own mind.
He can pretend to care about creating jobs all the while voting against the jobs bill; and voting to filibuster qualified LGBT folks from get jobs as judges, etc.
If he really cared what's "good for (his) constituents" and state, he might care that his failure to recognize marriage equality will cost us millions in dollars of lost federal grant funds and we will have to cough up the cash to balance the state budget. He won't have to pay anything because he's on "sacred" ground in the US Senate. He could care less about our ability to get affordable health insurance and excellent care. He's now a "golden boy" and is connected for "life" with insurance that we pay for - and no doubt, he is getting ready to run for higher office - get appointed to a higher post.
For this election, it's important that you retain your memory! If you are younger, then ask someone older to tell how horrible he really was.
Let's start fresh with someone who actually cares about us and about those who are not multi-millionaires.
My vote: Elizabeth Warren for US Senate 2012!
JEFF [ Apr 05 ] - Brown obviously subscribes to the maxim "You can fool some of the people all of the time." He's not the worst homophobe in the Senate, but really? What is that saying? He's the Senator from MASSACHUSETTS and he doesn't support equal treatment of all married couples in the state.
He does not represent gay people...Sorry, not supporting this Wall Street tool.
MARIA SANCHEZ [ Apr 05 ] - Warren is out of touch with everybody except here elitist buddies at Harvard. Vote Brown 2012!!
STEVEN MILLER [ Apr 05 ] - Brown is the second most bipartisan Senator in Washington, he has only voted with his party 54% of the time. Whatever your personal politics you have to respect someone who is more committed to their personal principles then the goals of their national party.
JEN SMITH [ Apr 05 ] - Scott Brown 2012!!!
AJC [ Apr 05 ] - This appearance by our junior senator could have been delivered to dozens of different audiences. It is a stump speech tweeked just a bit to attempt to be topical to the Bay Windows readership. It is blatantly beside-the-point of issues important to the GLBT community. I'd prefer his previously uncompromising silence to this compromise of an op-ed. Have a conversation, Senator, not an opinion piece.
*** [ Apr 05 ] - Remember he believes in the " liberty of every citizen to live as they choose" So again we get into the choice of living as a GLBTQ person... He wrote this ad to the gays and how he "helped" repeal DADT but this article was only about "jobs and the economy"
DON GORTON [ Apr 05 ] - Senator Brown creates a false dichotomy between issues that matter like the economy and so-called "pet projects." For America to succeed in the face of new challenges, we need to harness all the talent our country has. Anti-LGBT discrimination denies opportunity based on merit alone. You can't shunt qualified job applicants aside and compete, optimally, which is why we need laws like the American Equality Bill.
*** [ Apr 05 ] - Is this man kidding? He was and is staunchly against Gay marriage and completely out of touch with anyone besides white straight men. Not to mention he is part of a party of homophobia, racism and hatred of women. Does he really think that sad "opinion" published here will change anyone's mind to vote for him. Beyond belief how he cannot even pander....lol. "Pet Project", indeed!!!
BOSGUY [ Apr 04 ] - Senator Brown, Thank you for finally addressing the LGBT community. Whether I agree with your views or not, your resounding silence since taking office had been disconcerting; especially in light of your predecessor who maintained such open dialog with the LGBT community.
I would like to think that there can be more dialog with you now that you are in full campaign mode. I hope that the sole extent of your interaction with the LGBT community in MA does not begin and end with a guest opinion; that would seem a bit hollow.
THOM WATSON [ Apr 04 ] - So the senator promises to create jobs... that we can then be legally fired from in most states just for being who we are. No thanks.
Readers’ reactions to Scott Brown: Letters
On principle, I was disappointed to see the smiling picture of Sen. Brown on the front page of the April 5th issue of Bay Windows. I would have been happy to read an actual interview with editors from Bay Windows; but, after his ignoring our community since his election, to print his reelection letter is not right. His description of taking careful thought and study on the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) issue is just not true. I have e-mailed, called and written letters to Sen. Brown. I am a 100% service connected disabled transgender Vietnam Veteran. I have asked him for a meeting to discuss the repeal of DADT. He has never responded to my request. If he did not talk to veterans in his district and refused to discuss the issue with the editors of Bay Windows, then I am clueless with whom he discussed the issue. The reality was that Sen. Brown opposed ending the discrimination policy in the past. He only changed his vote to “yes” when it became very clear that the votes were there to end the policy and that a “no” vote could hurt his re-election.
His change of heart was not, as he claims, the thinking of an independent voter who is a bipartisan member of the senate. I see it as an insult that in his letter to “New England’s LGBT Newspaper” he did not even share his thoughts on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), and the right to health care excess for all women. His “I believe all people should be treated with dignity and respect…..” is political double talk. In realty he voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would have given women equal pay.
The fact that in his letter he did not commit on the ENDA or DOMA is an insult to the readers of Bay Windows. Comparing taking a stand on how a senator will vote on a bill to “promising to support everyone’s pet project” is more political doubletalk. I sincerely hope that the next time I see a picture of Sen. Brown on the front page of the Bay Windows that it is part of a thoughtful interview forcing Sen. Brown to take a stand on how he will vote on bills that affect the LGBT community.
Janice Josephine Carney
President New England LGBT Veterans Inc.
Where have you been?
Dear Senator Brown:
I have a friend who only calls me when he needs something.
I believe your letter in Bay Windows April 5 edition is the same as that call.
I have watched a little box on the right corner of the front page of every edition of Bay Windows. It counts each week the number of days Bay Windows has not heard from you.
Now it is election time, and oh my—we now hear from you. Where have you been the last few years? Beside helping to repeal DADT how have you supported our community? Have you voiced opposition to DOMA for instance?
When I see that the friend mentioned above is calling I don’t answer—ditto to you!
Steve Loher, Boston
cc: Bay Windows
Cynical, political calculation
It’s difficult to know what Senator Scott Brown thought he would accomplish by the condescending op-ed he placed in this newspaper. To make matters worse (for him), Brown’s attempted dig at his Democratic challenger, Elizabeth Warren, managed to degrade serious legislative remedies to address inequality by referring to them as “pet projects”.
Like many others, I am dog-tired of Senator Brown burnishing his so-called moderate credentials by holding up his final two votes on repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. In truth, he opposed ending the policy in May 2010, when it came before the Senate Armed Services where he sits. He went on to repeatedly vote block the National Defense Authorization Act which contained repeal language throughout most of the next year.
When the bill finally survived all attempts to stall or derail it, Brown finally supported repeal in two votes at the end of the year. It’s impossible not to read those votes as cynical, political calculation because by then, we didn’t need his vote.
This is a Massachusetts United States Senator who has not found a single bill he will put his name to which would level the playing field for his LGBT constituents. He is quick to compare himself to the two Maine Republican Senators—retiring Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins—but he bears very little resemblance to either on this matters. Collins was the co-sponsor of repeal and dogged in working for passage. Both have co-sponsored the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and Collins is also the lead Republican sponsor of a bill to end tax disparity for same sex domestic partners in employer-provided health plans.
And then there’s the freedom to marry. Senator Brown says it’s a settled issue. Well, if it is, it’s no thanks to him. State Senator Brown was a consistent vote against marriage equality. He never budged. And he continues to support DOMA, even in the face of state-sanctioned court action to repeal it which recognizes it’s fundamentally unfair for the federal government to tell Massachusetts that it must treat two sets of married couples differently.
Finally, Senator Brown, please don’t disparage the noble quest for basic equality by lecturing us about jobs. Of course, we want a healthy economy and jobs for every American who needs one. But for many LGBT Americans, there is no job security when they can be fired simply for who they are.