Articles in several Colorado newspapers regarding Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez's running mate Janet Rowland omitted any reference to her controversial comments linking gay marriage to bestiality, polygamy, and incest.
In August 15 articles about Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez's selection of Mesa County Commissioner Janet Rowland as a running mate, several Colorado newspapers failed to note Rowland's recent controversial comments linking gay marriage to bestiality, polygamy, incest, and marriages between adults and "11-year-olds." The comments, which were publicly available when Beauprez announced Rowland as his running mate on August 14, were reported by The Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain News in August 15 articles.
On the March 17 broadcast of Rocky Mountain PBS' Colorado State of Mind, during a discussion of a referendum to allow domestic partnerships, Rowland said: "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? ... What if somebody wants 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 18 to get married; why can't 11-year-olds?"
The following Colorado papers carried August 15 articles about Rowland's selection that omitted any mention of her statements and the controversy surrounding them:
- The Gazette of Colorado Springs: "Beauprez picks running mate from Western Slope" by Kyle Henley
- The Pueblo Chieftain: "Running mates take spotlight settled upon," by Charles Ashby and "Pueblo GOP meets ticket's 'other half,' " by Peter Roper
- The Fort Collins Coloradoan: "Beauprez, in Loveland, picks partner," by Kevin Darst.
- The Durango Herald: "Beauprez picks commissioner as No. 2," by Joe Hanel.
In contrast, the Post reported on August 15 that "within hours" of her selection by Beauprez, "Rowland was embroiled in controversy." In the same article, the Post expalined, "Earlier this year during a taped discussion on gay marriage, she [Rowland] asked: 'Do we allow a man to marry a sheep? I mean at some point, you have to draw the line.' " In its August 15 coverage, the News reported, "Rowland came under fire Monday for comments she made on the Colorado State of Mind program last spring, comparing homosexuality to 'bestiality, polygamy and incest.' " According to the News story: "The Beauprez campaign said Rowland now regrets making the comments."
Later in the same broadcast of Colorado State of Mind, Rowland responded to a question about how far she would go to campaign against gay marriage. Rowland said the issue "does affect my marriage, because if marriage becomes about everything, then marriage is about nothing."
From the March 17 broadcast of Rocky Mountain PBS' Colorado State of Mind:
ROWLAND: I just think this question, and not just tonight, but overall, frames it to where it polarizes people. They have to be in a category that if they believe marriage should be between a man and a woman, then they hate gays. 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? I mean, at some point, you have to draw a line.
MALE GUEST #1: You're moving into Jim Welker territory, Janet --
ROWLAND: You have to draw the line somewhere -- if marriage is about anything then it is about nothing.
FEMALE GUEST: That's not fair, that's not a fair, you know, example of what's going on here
ROWLAND: Well, where do you draw the line? Where do you draw the line?
FEMALE GUEST: Well, you have to draw your own line.
ROWLAND: What if someone -- let's say what if 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 18 to get married, why can't 11-year-olds?
MALE GUEST #1: It's against the law.
MALE GUEST #1: Janet, let's get back, let's get back clear what we're talking about here -- we're not talking about the gay marriage constitutional amendment in Colorado, we're talking about whether or not gay couples or other non-traditional relationships should have some rights to make health decisions for their partners, should have some rights to share health benefits from their employers.
GREG DOBBS (host) : Janet, what do you think about that?
ROWLAND: OK, I submit to you that they already have those rights. You can have anybody -- you can get power of attorney and find other legal means to give anybody rights to make medical decisions about you. They already adopt children -- we have homosexual couples who are foster parents. They already have the right. The only right I have seen them ask for that they don't have is health insurance, and when did health insurance become the grounds for marriage? Even heterosexual couples don't always have health insurance.
MALE GUEST #1: Well, the fact is that if you're in a committed relationship then let's just -- we'll limit it to health insurance if that's what you want to do. Do you not believe that people in committed relationships should not have, their partners should not have the right to health insurance?
ROWLAND: I think there are heterosexual committed relationships who don't have health insurance, and it's not a reason to promote marriage.
FEMALE GUEST: So you're against the initiative?
FEMALE GUEST: Oh you're against it? I see.
DOBBS: But you understand it's not about marriage?
ROWLAND: I understand. I think it's just the next step. It's gonna get us there, just slowly.
MALE GUEST #2: One reason I can't agree with you on this one is because you're right that a lot of these benefits already exist, and you're also correct that a lot of, let's say, live-in heterosexual couples have these rights or have gotten them. I'm acquainted with a young man who was self-employed and couldn't get cheap health insurance in that capacity, so he was put on his live-in girlfriend's health coverage. And I think something like that ought to be formalized. It ought to be a right.
ROWLAND: What if, though, you have a committed relationship between three people? Should they all have those health-insurance rights?
DOBBS: OK, quick answer to a wrap-up question, and Jim we'll start with you and go around the table. How far would you go to campaign either for or against ... gay marriage?
DOBBS: And last but not least, Janet.
ROWLAND: I, obviously, I don't support gay marriage, and I think it's because it's going to take us down the road that we don't want to go, and I know some of you are outraged that I would compare bestiality to this -- 40 or 50 years ago, people would be outraged that we were talking about gay marriage, and it's just going to -- and so it does affect my marriage, because if marriage becomes about everything, then marriage is about nothing.