The following is an open letter addressed to US Sen. Scott Brown.
Congratulations on winning the vote for one of the US Senate seats from Massachusetts. I am sure this is a happy time for you, your family and your political supporters. I hope that good things will come to the people of Massachusetts and the nation because of your win.
But I did not vote for you. There are reasons. I will discuss two.
For one, I did not agree with the bill you sponsored in Massachusetts in 2005 that would have made it legal for a person working in a hospital to refuse a legal service (an emergency contraceptive) to a woman if the hospital worker felt that delivering such a service was against his or her religious beliefs. What if delivering medication at all was against their religious beliefs? What if attending to certain races or genders or those with other religious beliefs were against the medical person’s beliefs? I thank God that that bill did not pass.
Two: I believe in fair laws for gay people, including the right to marry. It is big government indeed to believe that the government should be able to prevent two consenting adults who want to marry from doing so because of some people’s religious understandings. It is all the more inappropriate for government to limit gay citizens in this way when we note that religious people do not all agree on their own religion’s meanings on this issue.
My government should be working on other things that help me and others care for their families. Government should not decide what a family is. And asking the majority to vote on the rights of a minority is ludicrous. We have seen that that doesn’t work. Thank God for Martin Luther King Jr., whose birthday we just celebrated, for saying that it is not alright for a majority to decide the rights of a minority. Just a very few years ago in King’s lifetime that was not understood by many of the people of our nation. But times change.
The work ahead of you will be challenging. I hope you will rise to the task. I hope you will consult, listen to and represent people who both agree with you on the issues and those who don’t. I am hoping, but I am also expecting that, and I have the right to do so. The Senate seat is the people’s seat. Beyond that, it is a seat in a democracy, not just for the people alive now, but it is a place where we the people can speak to the best of who we are as set out in the Constitution of the United States, for now and beyond. Democracies are complicated, and they are hard work. Ours in the US is one worth fighting for. Good luck to you, Scott Brown, and may the hard work of justice be yours for two-and-a-half years.