Colorado Senate candidates clash over gays, bin Laden
October 12 2004 12:00 AM ET
The candidates for Colorado's tightly contested open Senate seat--beer heir Peter Coors and state attorney general Ken Salazar--clashed Sunday over same-sex marriage, whether Osama bin Laden deserves the death penalty, and the legal drinking age.
The race between Salazar and Coors has become one of the most-watched in the country because it could decide which party controls the Senate. Republicans hold a 51-48 edge, but Democrats are trying to pick up the Colorado seat being vacated by retiring GOP senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell.
Coors was criticized by Salazar for being inconsistent in opposing gay marriages and adoption for gay couples while his beer company offers health benefits to gay couples. "Look, I am very proud of our company. It is about recognizing that everyone in this country should be valued for what they are, and I believe that's the way we recognize it at our company," Coors said. Salazar said gay couples should be able to adopt children if it's in the best interest of the child but that he opposes legal recognition of gay marriages.
Salazar, a Democrat, said in a debate on NBC's Meet the Press that bin Laden deserves to be executed for orchestrating the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, while Coors said executing bin Laden would make him a martyr to other Islamic terrorists. "I think his attitude is, he wants to go to Allah," said Coors, a Republican. "If he wants to go to Allah, by killing him we would be granting his wish and perhaps even suggesting that he is a martyr." Salazar disagreed. "I think that the death penalty is an appropriate sanction for cop killers and for people who terrorize Americans and who kill innocent civilian life," he said.
The most recent poll, conducted October 7, showed Coors and Salazar in a dead heat.