An open letter to Sean Kean

Promoted from the diaries by Rosi

To Blue Jersey, yes I posted a diary going all Keith Olbermann on Sean Kean before , but this letter is a little more polite because it is also the one I plan on sending to his office.  I encourage all in the 11th district that care about equality to do the same.  I also encourage anyone on Facebook who wants to see Kean lose his seat in 2011 to become a fan of the following page, Unseat Sean Kean (and Jennifer Beck).

Dear Senator Kean,

I’ve written, called, and emailed you several times over the duration of the marriage equality campaign as it’s an issue that matters to me, even as a single straight woman.  During this campaign, I put aside my own partisanship as a Democrat and was willing to open my mind and vote for you in 2011, thus voting for a Republican for the first time in my life.  I was even willing to send you a campaign contribution.  This is not true anymore.

You spoke on the Senate floor about how the LGBT community increased property values, and drives tourism to your district.  Your no vote on Thursday actually decreased tourism to your district.  By allowing the LGBT community to get married, your district would have benefited from the many same-sex beach weddings that people from New Jersey and New York (a state which rejected marriage equality yet recognizes same-sex marriages performed in other states).  Many people spend more on a wedding these days than they do on a vehicle.  Think of all the small businesses in your district, such as caterers, banquet halls, florists, bakeries, hotels, bed and breakfasts, tuxedo rental shops, wedding dress shops, salons, limousine companies, etc. that could use the revenue especially on these economic times.  Think of it as an economic stimulus without the government spending a dime.  All you had to do was to vote yes and allow same-sex couples to get married civilly (the bill provided for religions to refuse same-sex couples the right to get married in that house of worship, just as they already do for heterosexual couples.)  Yet you did not, you put your personal beliefs ahead of what was best for your constituents and the communities that you represent.

You’re Catholic.  I know the Catholic Church’s stance on marriage equality (they oppose it).  You also have a law degree, and any constitutional law class (such as the one I just finished) will discuss the separation of church and state.  Civil marriage is a very different institution than religious marriage.  The Catholic Church would not be harmed by allowing homosexual couples to marry civilly, as they would have the right not to perform that marriage.   As a legislator, you are elected to represent your constituents (think of Asbury Park and Ocean Grove), not the Catholic Church.

You also call yourself a Republican.  Your party is traditionally conservative.  Lately all one has to do is turn on a cable news channel and within five minutes will hear a Republican saying that he or she wants “big government out of our lives.”  Voting against this bill just inserted big government into the lives of many of your constituents.  Do you really want big government telling them how they can live their lives?  Your no vote on Thursday told your constituents that you do.  

I really hope that if this issue ever comes to a vote again that you would reconsider your vote, and talk to members of your own party (including the Governor-Elect) about how this issue affects many of your constituents.  One thing that I can tell you is that you will face an uphill battle for re-election come November 2011 as you did not represent us.  


Caroline Lastname, aka tabbycat31

Comments (22)

  1. Bertin Lefkovic

    As large as the LGBT community in his district might be, the fact remains that the 11th district is a  Republican district and, like you, my guess is that the LGBT community has historically voted for whichever Democrat has challenged him, which makes it interesting that he would have ever considered voting for marriage equality.

    There is a famous quote by James Baker when he worked for George Bush Sr. and the two were discussing Israel.  Baker said “F**k the Jews.  They don’t vote for us anyway.”  Obviously, when Kean was leaning towards voting for marriage equality, nobody was advising him to f**k the LGBT community for the same reasons, so why was he even considering it?  Maybe it was the stories.  Maybe it was the economic benefits.

    Whatever it was, it wasn’t enough to make him do the right thing.  When push came to shove, he didn’t want to risk being on the wrong side of Chris Christie, but even moreso, I think that he didn’t want to be on the wrong side of the Republican primary voter (aka teabaggers).

    And it is with respect to this I think that there needed to be a greater effort to make it clear to Kean and other moderate Republicans that if he voted for marriage equality, there would be a surge of pro-marriage equality registered Democrats and unaffiliateds, changing their party affiliation to Republican so that they could vote for him in the Republican primary, effectively neutralizing the teabagger wingnut backlash.  I can’t be sure that this would have been enough to get his vote, but I think that it would have helped.

    This doesn’t change the fact that what he did was cowardly, but I do think that it should be viewed differently than the Democratic 9, who should be the primary focus of our anger.

  2. tabbycat31 (Post author)

    Kean did not get my money or my vote when he was last up in 2007.  At that point, I had just moved to NJ (from NY) and missed the voter registration deadline for the 2007 elections here (I was also a raw rookie in NJ politics then).  Kean was also up for election last before there were large voter registration drives in places like Neptune, Asbury Park, and Long Branch.  Many voters in those areas voted for the first time in 2008, and Obama carried the district, as did Pallone.  They did not all turn out in 2009, but some did.  It’s a focus that I want to work on for 2010, particularly pushing vote by mail so transportation to the polls is not an issue.  

    What else could we have done to get him to do the right thing?  I’ve been calling his office daily since the summer about this issue (to the point where his staff knew exactly who I was), I’ve written letters, I’ve blogged about it at my own blog, I’ve collected postcards from GSE, I’ve had other people call him, I’ve talked to him in the halls at the state house.  Unlike other legislators whose stance was clearly known, Kean’s was not and GSE knew he was on the fence, and solicited his district big time (and had an office there).  

    I don’t know if I would have changed my voter registration in the primary, but I would have voted for him in the general had he done the right thing.  That’s a moot point now as I will work on his Democratic opponent’s campaign now.

  3. Babs NJSD

    Throw the bum out! Who will step up?


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