BOSTON (CBS) – A war of words has erupted after Senator Scott Brown was the only member of the Massachusetts congressional delegation who is noticeably absent from a new “It Gets Better” video.
The video is part of a nationwide campaign supporting gay and lesbian teenagers.
A Democratic Party official tells us, “Every member of the delegation was asked to participate, and plenty of accommodations were made to fit into their schedules.”
However, a source tells WBZ-TV that Republican Senator Scott Brown declined.
WBZ-TV’s Jim Armstrong reports
A spokesperson defended the senator’s decision saying, “Scott Brown has a strong record at the state and federal level against bullying and believes that all people regardless of sexual orientation should be treated with dignity and respect. His main focus right now is on creating jobs and getting our economy back on track.”
That comment sparked an immediate retort from the state Democratic Party.
They pointed out votes and comments on gay rights-related issues that Senator Brown has made in the past, including his vote “for Constitutional Amendment Banning Gay Marriage” that was ultimately shot down.
They also responded to the Senator’s suggestion he’s focused on jobs and the economy by noting that Brown recently filed legislation to increase the penalty for killing seals.
“I guess he has time to save seals, but not gay kids,” Democratic Party Communications Director Kevin Franck said, sarcastically adding, “I mean, who doesn’t love seals?”
Brown is on the record as supporting the elimination of the Military’s ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy, which would allow gay men and women to serve openly.
The latest “It Gets Better” public service announcement was especially well-received at the Boston Alliance of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Youth, or BAGLY, which showed the video at its meeting Wednesday night.
BAGLY is specifically mentioned in the one-minute video as a resource for kids in Massachusetts, urging them not to commit suicide.
Overall response was very positive to the fact that the state’s elected officials made this PSA.
BAGLY member Sam Iwen called it “great that the people in charge of us are actually caring about us. You can never go wrong with saving a life.”
“We all should be part of making it better,” explained BAGLY’s Executive Director, Grace Sterling Stowell. “It’s not simply waiting for a time in the future when things will be better. But we can all work together now to help make it better. I think this video is part of that.”
Lost on no one was the fact that the Bay State’s junior senator was the only member of the entire delegation to turn down the invitation to appear.
“I think that’s really unfortunate,” said BAGLY member Daunasia Yancey. “It’s not a political statement, it’s a statement of caring. And we are his constituents, too.”
Said Stowell: “The fact that every single person except Senator Brown participated will definitely be noticed. And it sends a message, intentional or not.
WBZ-TV’s Karen Anderson and Jim Armstrong contributed to this report.