Dalila Ali Rajah
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candidate's "bestiality" comments come back to haunt her

            candidate's "bestiality" comments come back to haunt her

Democrats pounced
on Colorado's Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob
Beauprez and his newly chosen running mate, Janet Rowland,
on Tuesday for comments she made five months ago
comparing same-sex marriage to bestiality. In a March
17 broadcast of the Rocky Mountain PBS program Colorado
State of Mind
, Rowland said homosexuality is
an alternative lifestyle, adding, "For some people,
the alternative lifestyle is bestiality. Do we allow a man
to marry a sheep?"

Democrat Bill
Ritter's campaign called the remarks "insensitive,
close-minded, derogatory, and crude" and demanded an
apology. "This shows just how far to the right and
out-of-touch the Beauprez-Rowland ticket really is,"
Ritter campaign manager Greg Kolomitz said.

Beauprez campaign
manager John Marshall said Rowland regretted the remark
and has apologized. "We all say things we don't mean
sometimes," he said. "That's what happened."

He said Beauprez
continues to believe Rowland is a strong candidate but
added, "Let me be clear. He doesn't agree with [the]
comments, and neither does she."

Marshall said
Rowland had told campaign officials about the remarks
before she was chosen as Beauprez's running mate, and they
accepted her apology and statement of regret.

Rowland was
campaigning Tuesday and was not available for further
comment, Marshall said.

The tempest arose
just one day after Beauprez announced that Rowland, a
Mesa County commissioner, is his running mate in what is
expected to be a tight race for the seat being given
up by term-limited GOP governor Bill Owens. Beauprez
praised Rowland's accomplishments, integrity, and
"real-world experience."

Rowland, 43, is a
married mother of two children. In the broadcast, she
stressed that she does not hate gays. "I have friends who
are gay, I've worked with people who are gay, [and] I
have utmost respect for them," she said.

She said society
must differentiate between what is acceptable as
marriage and what is not. "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?" she said.

She returned to
the bestiality comparison at the end of the broadcast.
"And I know some of you are outraged that I would compare
bestiality to this," she said. "Forty or 50 years ago,
people would be outraged that we were talking about
gay marriage."

political analyst Katy Atkinson of Denver said it's
difficult to measure what impact Rowland's comments
will have on the race. She said it depends partly on
whether key swing voters view Rowland's views as
extreme. "Coloradans tend to not like or vote for anybody
who is an extremist," she said. "If that comment is
used to portray her and Bob Beauprez as extremist,
that's a problem." Atkinson said Beauprez will fare
best if he can regain the offensive in the campaign and
shape the voters' impression of him.

"Bob Beauprez's
secret weapon is Bob Beauprez," she said. "When he
speaks to voters on television or radio, he seems like their
favorite uncle, like every word he says is sincere and from
the heart."

So far, she said,
Ritter and his supporters have kept Beauprez on the
defensive, and Rowland's comments only contribute to that.
"The challenge he has had all along—it hasn't
worked very well for him—is to run the campaign
on his terms, and he hasn't been able to do that,"
Atkinson said. "Now his campaign is having to react to these
comments." (AP)

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