Democrat Ed Markey, Massachusetts’ Next Senator, Earned an ‘A’ Grade from the Secular Coalition for America

Earlier tonight, Ed Markey (D) beat Gabriel Gomez (R) in a race to take over John Kerry‘s Senate seat in Massachusetts.

Newly-elected Sen. Ed Markey

Markey, who’s been a Representative for the state since 1976, earned a grade of C on the Secular Coalition for America’s congressional scorecard in 2011.

Markey’s low score came in part from his vote supporting HR 33, an amendment to the Securities Act of 1933 that allowed “certain church plans to be exempt from registration and disclosure requirements.” He also voted to reaffirm “In God We Trust” as the country’s official motto and supported legislation that gave land to the anti-atheist Boy Scouts of America.

More recently, however, when the SCA put out a scorecard just for this special Senate election (PDF), they gave him (and his opponent) an A:

The sole grade of B came from a vote Markey cast to allow courts to decide on whether the word “God” should remain in the Pledge of Allegiance.

So while he may have had some missteps in the past, Markey appears to be generally on the side of church/state separation. He’s not perfect, but he was at least better than his opponent in this election.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Tina Schmidt

    What impressed me incredibly about Markey, and made me want to support him to replace Kerry (except I don’t live in that state), he said religiously, and he himself are anti-abortion, but he would not vote against what the supreme court already ruled on, and woman’s right to choose. It’s hard enough, it seems, to find a Catholic Democrat, but to find one that still manages to find a way to key in the party’s support for Pro-Choice, even if it pro-choice goes against his particular religion, is, well, great. Kerry got a lot of flak from the Catholic Church for just being flat out pro-choice. The way this guy worded it, last I heard, it didn’t get him in trouble with his archbishop, because he said he was personally against it, but the Supreme Court already ruled on it 40 years ago.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am an atheist, but especially in Mass., I think you would have a hard time getting a national senate seat won by an atheist at this time (maybe 100 years ago, and maybe 20 years from now). And he was taking the stance many pro-lifers are taking today – the “I’m personally against it, but I agree that it’s a woman’s right to choose, as it’s not MY body taking all the physical risk” stance. Women understand that, and they don’t want politicians messing with their reproductive rights.

    • thebigJ_A

      Idk, I’m Boston born and bred. If any place will elect an atheist, it’s here. Sure, there’s a hell of alot of us of who are ‘Catholic’, what with so many of Irish and Italian descent, etc., but most people I know under, say, 50, are Catholic in name only, and more or less non-religious in actuality (though the Church’ll claim ‘em for the stats ofc.). It’s just what they were told they were growing up, and they don’t really think about it. Let alone go to church, except for funerals and such.

      And even the ones who think they’re proper Catholics usually aren’t by any definition the Church would use if it could enforce dogma like in the bad old days (pro-choice, pro gay marriage etc.). At least in the Eastern half, we’re a liberal state, luckily for me.

  • Rain

    You have to be careful in this state because if you shorten it to “Mass.”, then they might think you mean “church mass” instead of the state of Massachusetts. No wonder they have church/state separation problems over there.

    • Deus Otiosus.

      Technically speaking, Massachusetts isn’t a state. It’s a commonwealth. But yes, having grown up just a little south of Boston, there are enough Irish Catholics that it seems as if you don’t “live” in Mass. as much as you “attend” mass.

      • Deus Otiosus

        Crap. I upvoted my own reply by accident. I’m new at this.

        • GloomCookie613

          Don’t worry. We’ve all been new at something before. :) For the record, if you click the upvote button again it should remove the vote you just made. I use that all the time because I read on my tablet and have big ol’ fat fingers. :) Oh, and welcome!