Republican gubernatorial hopeful Bob Beauprez voiced clear opposition Wednesday to Boulder County Clerk Hillary Hall's choice to issue same-sex marriage licenses, saying: "You don't just tamper with the Constitution arbitrarily."
"I'm with our Constitution," Beauprez said. "The people of Colorado spoke repeatedly in the law of Colorado that marriage is between a man and a woman.
"I think we've made a wise step with civil unions, and I support that," he added. "I'm very much in favor of equal civil rights for all our citizens, but that's very different than as we define marriage in Colorado. The distinction that needs to be drawn here is, whether you like it or don't like it, it is the Constitution."
Gov. John Hickenlooper, the Democrat Beauprez seeks to unseat, came out in support of gay marriage in March, stating: "If all men and women truly have the inalienable right to pursue happiness, and if all people are created equal, then by extension of law, logic and love, every adult couple should also have the freedom to join in marriage."
Beauprez, a Lafayette native and former chairman of the Boulder County Republican Party, made his remarks after a campaign stop on Folsom Street in Boulder, where he was joined by running mate Jill Repella, former primary opponents Tom Tancredo and Scott Gessler and various other state GOP leaders.
At Wednesday's campaign stop, the roughly 100 in attendance heard Beauprez speak of his five-pronged "Liberty's Promise" platform, which revolves primarily around limiting government influence in the everyday lives of Coloradans.
"You ask the teachers, truck drivers, farmers and ranchers," he said. "They'll invariably say, 'It's government not just stepping on my toes a little bit, but it's got its boot on my neck.'"
Beauprez promised that, if elected, he'll eliminate any function of state government he sees as unnecessary or overly inhibiting.
"If it doesn't promote and defend freedom, protect and preserve and enhance liberties," he said, "we get rid of it."
Beauprez said the Republican base in Boulder County — which party officials estimate at about 47,000 — will be key to his success or failure in November.
"I always believe that while we may not have the registration numbers in Boulder County," Beauprez said, "some of the strongest, most principled conservatives — people who understand why they're Republicans and why it makes a difference to adopt Republican principles and implement Republican principles — I think they're found right here."
Gessler, Colorado's secretary of state and the third leading primary vote-getter behind Beauprez and Tancredo, said supporters in Boulder County now have an "opportunity to convert the unconverted" in the GOP's favor.
"We've got to turn this state around," he told the crowd. "Boulder matters a lot. It's easy to be a Republican in El Paso. It's easy to be a Republican in Douglas. It's not easy to be a Republican in Boulder. You all fly the flag; you fight the fight. And when it comes to getting votes, Boulder is a target-rich environment."
Gessler began his remarks joking that his 2003 bid for the Boulder City Council fell flat because he "was outed as a conservative Republican."
George Leing, a Niwot Republican who is running for Boulder Democrat Jared Polis' seat in Congress, said conservatives in the county have been widely mischaracterized as unwilling to sympathize with traditionally liberal concerns, including environmentalism and the regulation of oil and gas companies.
"We may have some disagreements on things, but we all live in this community and care about this community," he said. "We know we're outnumbered in registration, but we are your friends and neighbors here."
Contact Camera Staff Writer Alex Burness at 303-473-1389 or firstname.lastname@example.org.