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08/16/2006

Comparing gay marriage to man/sheep nuptials not deal breaker in CO gubernatorial race

by Jeremy Hooper

   Colorado gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez is coming under fire for his selection of Janet Rowland (pic.) as candidate for lieutenant governor, since Ms. Rowland recently compared homosexuality to bestiality on a local TV show. On a March broadcast of the Rocky Mountain PBS program "Colorado State of Mind," Rowland called homosexuality an alternative lifestyle, saying:

"I have friends who are gay, I've worked with people who are gay, I have utmost respect for them, I do not hate them. But I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. Homosexuality is an alternative lifestyle, that doesn't make it a marriage Some people have group sex. Should we allow two men and three women to marry? Should we allow polygamy, with one man and five wives? For some people, the alternative lifestyle is bestiality. Do we allow a man to marry a sheep?"

Charming, right? But it doesn't stop there -- when challenged by others on the panel, Rowland added:

"Where do you draw the line? What is someone's line is a cousin? What if they want to marry a cousin or an aunt or an uncle? What if it's an adult with a child? Why do we say you have to be eighteen? Why can't eleven year olds?"

And then in her closing thoughts, perhaps quasi-realizing the impending backlash, Rowland said:

"I obviously I don't support gay marriage, and I think it's because it's going to take us down a road that we don't want to go. And I know some of you are outraged that I would compare bestiality to this. Forty or 50 years ago, people would be outraged that we were talking about gay marriage, and it does affect my marriage because if marriage becomes about everything then marriage is about nothing."

So she was quite detailed in her statements, yes? Quite clear about her convictions, no? But here's the thing -- Rowland has apologized for the statements and Beauprez's spokesperson, John Marshall, is telling the press:

"She made a comment she regrets, ... In the real world, you forgive someone, and you move on."

Now, that may be plausible if she had made one comment that was clearly out of character. But when one rails on in detailed excess with multiple offensive characterizations, it's not an example of one merely putting their foot in their mouth. Misspeaking would be if she inaccurately quoted a bill or cited budget figures; comparing gay marriage to man/sheep, relative/relative, or child-based nuptials are not minor slips of the tongue. Clearly she has these thoughts! In the real world, as spokesman Marshall likes to say, you can't just make a public declaration of regret and expect that to negate the long-winded, extremely offensive words that you've put out into the ether!

For Beauprez's camp to paint the picture that those of us who won't accept Rowland's "Sorry!" are the ones who are out of touch reality, is as unfair as the right wing's overall strategy of presenting gay marriage as if it's a Pandora's box just waiting to be opened. It will take lots of time and positive change for Ms. Rowland to emerge from the gay-unfriendly hole in which she has dug herself.

Dems rip Rowland's comments [Gazette]
MP3 of March 17 broadcast of "Colorado State of Mind" (Offensive comments come a little less than 3/4 of the way in) [Rocky Mountain PBS]

**Rowland's statement of clarity, as quoted by the Denver Post:

"The question I posed is: Where do we draw the line?" ... "If marriage isn't between a man and woman - which I and the congressman believe it is - it can be between two men or two women. It can be between a threesome. It can be polygamy. I went on to give all the alternative lifestyles that people have a right to participate in. I probably stepped over the line by referring to bestiality. ..."

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