Childers: Position on gay marriage cost race

Aug 23, 2012 The Associated Press

The representative was against a proposal that would have

prohibited Wyoming from recognizing same-sex unions performed in other states.

CHEYENNE -- An incumbent Wyoming state representative blames his loss in his re-election bid in Tuesday's primary on his recent opposition to proposed legislation targeting same-sex couples.

Unofficial results show that Rep. Pat Childers, a Cody Republican who has served since 1997, came in last in the four-way GOP primary race for House District 50. Both Childers and the unofficial winner, Powell rancher David Northrup, said Wednesday that they believe voters rejected Childers in large part because of his stand on the same-sex marriage issue.

Childers last year urged the House to defeat a proposal that would have prohibited Wyoming from recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states. The Legislature ultimately rejected the bill.

During debate on the same-sex marriage bill last year, Childers said the proposal reminded him of mistreatment of blacks he saw growing up in Texas during segregation. He has said he has a daughter who's a lesbian living in Montana.

"If a church wants to deny somebody the right to be married, fine, that's a church issue," Childers said on the House floor. "We have a separation of church and state. But when it comes to the law on this thing, when it comes to the law, we need to provide equal rights to all people."

On Wednesday, Childers, a retired engineer, said he had refused to back down on the marriage issue despite criticism during the primary campaign.

"I'm not a political person, at least I don't think so, in changing the way I feel," he said. "I've always been that way."

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