DENVER– Speaking to a room of about 30 people at popular and gay-friendly restaurant Hamburger Mary’s Wednesday, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff said that, unlike his primary opponent, Sen. Michael Bennet, he believed gay marriage was a federal question that shouldn’t be left to the states to decide. Romanoff said has been a long champion of gay rights. He said he was not only more progressive than Bennet on this and other issues, but that he was the most progressive candidate running for national office in the country.
“I am the candidate in this race to have laid out the most progressive stance on virtually every issue that Congress now confronts, not just on the question of human rights– where my stance is more enlightened than any other candidate in this race and I would argue any candidate in the United States,” Romanoff told the group. “You can call my bluff. If you can find a candidate who is more committed to this cause [gay marriage], let me know, because I don’t think there is one.”
Bennet campaign spokesman Trevor Kincaid said the senator supports the right of states to decide on gay marriage but that he also supports the full repeal of the Clinton-era Defense of Marriage Act.
“Bennet has said that as a private citizen, if a ballot measure were to come up in Colorado [providing for gay marriage], he would support it,” Kincaid said.
Romanoff suggested that gay marriage wasn’t a matter to be decided in patchwork fashion but that it was an essential American question of equality under the law.
“As I understand it my opponent suggested that questions of [gay] marriage out to be left to the state. That is not my view. This is not a question that should be left to the states. If you believe as I do that [marriage] is a fundamental human right and a constitutional guarantee, that right should apply whether you live in Colorado or Kansas or California. It is a federal right, not a state right, which we should advance through the courts if possible and with legislation if necessary.”
Romanoff said that gay rights was a topic he championed in the Colorado legislature and that his stand on the issue mirrored his progressive stands on a host of litmus-test type issues. He said he supports a federal gay marriage law, a single-player health-care plan and a 50-percent national renewable energy standard.