What's the matter with Colorado?

One state senator compares homosexuality to murder, another won't vote for HIV testing because he doesn't want to reward promiscuity.

By Alex Koppelman

Published February 26, 2009 1:00AM (EST)

Every state has to deal with the occasional stupid, embarrassing elected official now and again. Sometimes, though, it seems like one is getting hit with more than its fair share. This week, it's Colorado, where two state senators have done their best to cover their constituents in something other than glory.

It all started with Republican Scott Renfroe of Greeley, who got some attention for comments he made Monday about a bill that extends health benefits to same-sex partners of state employees. It's "an abomination according to Scripture," Renfroe said, according to the Colorado Independent, to "[take] sins and [make] them to be legally OK.”

Renfroe -- apparently a magnanimous kind of guy -- was willing to admit that homosexuality isn't the only sin listed in the Bible. "I’m not saying this is the only sin that is out there. Obviously we have sin -- we have murder, we have, we have all sorts of sin, we have adultery, and we don’t make laws making those legal, and we would never think to make murder legal," he said.

Another Republican in the Colorado Senate, Sen. Dave Schultheis, wasn't about to be outdone. Explaining why he cast the lone vote against a bill that requires health care providers to test pregnant women for HIV (with their consent, of course), Schultheis said:

Sexual promiscuity, we know, causes a lot of problems in our state, one of which, obviously, is the contraction of HIV. And we have other programs that deal with the negative consequences -- we put up part of our high schools where we allow students maybe 13 years old who put their child in a small daycare center there.

We do things continually to remove the negative consequences that take place from poor behavior and unacceptable behavior, quite frankly, and I don’t think that’s the role of this body.

As a result of that I finally came to the conclusion I would have to be a no vote on this because this stems from sexual promiscuity for the most part.

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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