More Messages: State of Mind

Mesa County Commissioner Janet Rowland, whom Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez just chose as his running mate, likely rues her decision to appear on a March edition of Colorado State of Mind, the weekly Channel 6 chat show hosted by Greg Dobbs (pictured). Had she passed, she wouldn't be in the position of defending this comment she made about same-sex unions: "For some people, the alternative lifestyle is bestiality. Do we allow a man to marry a sheep?"

When guesting on shows such as CSOM, which I've done, it's easy to forget that anyone's watching, or that the remarks made go any further than the studio in which the program is recorded. After the broadcasts, I typically only hear from my father in Palisade, who's always glad for proof that I remain gainfully employed. But these conversations are archived online, which is why the curious can listen to an audio file of Rowland's statements by clicking here. Moreover, other guests generally include members of the media -- as was the case with the CSOM episode in question. Denver Post columnist Jim Spencer got the pleasure of hearing Rowland live, as he noted in an acute August 16 column in which he ripped her and Beauprez up one side and down the other.

Granted, Spencer may have overstated the possibility that Rowland's views could "drive away the middle-of-the-road voters" Beauprez needs. As the scribe acknowledges in the same piece, "a constitutional ban on gay-marriage will likely pass in November." Still, the hullabaloo is a distraction the Beauprez forces could have done without, and don't seem to be handling terribly well. In a Rocky Mountain News article about the Rowland fallout, Beauprez campaign manager John Marshall dismissed critics at ProgressNow, a left-wing group, as "bed-wetting" liberals -- a phrase not much more P.C. than the sheep-loving bon mot he was trying to explain away.

By the way, Rowland would have displayed a greater sense of history had the animal she cited been a horse. As pointed out in this 2004 piece in the San Francisco Chronicle, Boulder briefly allowed gay marriages in 1975 when then-county clerk Clela Rorex changed the words "male" and "female" to "person" on marriage licenses there. To protest this move, a local man came into town with a mare named Dolly and asked Rorex to marry them. She turned down the couple because Dolly was just eight, and therefore underage.

If Ms. Rowland would like to tell that story on Colorado State of Mind, I'm sure host Dobbs would gladly offer her the opportunity. -- Michael Roberts

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts