Janet Rowland already proved that sheep and man don’t mix

A bighorn sheep in Big Thompson Canyon. (Photo/jc/pics, Flickr)
A bighorn sheep in Big Thompson Canyon. (Photo/jc/pics, Flickr)
Man-on-sheep marriage alert! Colorado’s Janet Rowland didn’t get too far with her dread warning about how gay marriage could ultimately result in nephews marrying their aunts or three women getting married. But this way of thinking has made it into the pages of the University of Washington’s student newspaper, which this week published a column denouncing gay marriage, and comes complete with an illustration of a man standing next to a sheep.

Who knew Rowland, Colorado’s erstwhile candidate for lieutenant governor, was so far ahead of her time?

The Seattle Times reported this week that the Nov. 25 column in the campus newspaper, The Daily, sparked a rally to decry what leaders say is homophobic language that incites fear and hate. Organizers are demanding an apology, and, in a separate action, The Graduate and Professional Student Senate passed a resolution demanding the paper apologize.

The newspaper’s editor has refused to back down, defending the free speech of columnist John Fay. In his column, Fay argued that homosexuality is an emotional tendency “that needs to be dealt with, not denied.”

“Once you’ve legalized gay marriage, why not polygamy, incest, bestiality or any other form of union?” Fay wrote.

If the words sound familiar, it’s because they are the same argument that have been trotted out by the far right for many years now — equating homosexuality with bestiality and sexual perversions. Hey, why not necrophilia?

But while those shock comparisons once drew a few converts who recoiled from the possibilities, most normal, thinking people are way beyond buying such Chicken Little utterances anymore — a fact driven home when Rowland publicly made the same comparisons in Colorado more than 2 1/2 years ago.

Courtesy of Colorado Media Matters, here are the famous words that Rowland uttered during an appearance on the March 17, 2006 edition of the PBS program “Colorado State of Mind” during a discussion of a referendum to allow domestic partnerships.

Rowland, a county commissioner from Mesa County, stated:

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.

[…]

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?

Months later, when Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez selected Rowland as his running mate, suffice it to say much of the public was baaaahing over Rowland’s bizarre stance with a mixture of disbelief and merriment.

As for Beauprez’ campaign, well we all know what happened with that.

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