Colorado GOP calls for burning of Pride flags

Colorado GOP calls for burning of Pride flags

Colorado’s Republican Party this week called for LGBTQ Pride flags to be burned, describing LGBTQ Americans as “godless groomers” in a fundraising email and multiple social media posts railing against Pride Month.

“Burn all the #pride flags this June,” the state GOP wrote Monday on the social platform X. Earlier Monday, an email sent by the party with the subject line “God Hates Pride” perpetuated the false claim that LGBTQ people are “grooming” children to abuse them.

“The month of June has arrived and, once again, the godless groomers in our society want to attack what is decent, holy, and righteous so they can ultimately harm our children,” reads the email.

The party’s message — which includes a link to a sermon led by Mark Driscoll, an evangelical pastor known for his anti-LGBTQ views — is signed by state Republican Party Chair Dave Williams, who is also a candidate for Congress.

Williams, whose candidacy for Colorado’s 5th Congressional District has been endorsed by former President Trump, is fending off a competitive primary challenge from conservative podcast host Jeff Crank, who clinched an endorsement from Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) in May.

Notably, Colorado’s 5th District includes Colorado Springs, where five people were killed and more than two dozen were injured in a mass shooting at an LGBTQ nightclub in 2022. Survivors linked the Club Q attack to “extreme anti-LGBTQI+ rhetoric” and policies championed by Republicans.

In a statement to The Hill, Williams said the Colorado Republican Party makes “no apologies for saying God hates pride or pride flags as it’s an agenda that harms children and undermines parental authority.”

“The only backlash we see is coming from radical Democrats, the fake news media, and weak Republicans who bow down at the feet of leftist cancel culture,” he said in an email.

Valdamar Archuleta, president of the Colorado chapter of the conservative LGBTQ advocacy organization Log Cabin Republicans and a GOP candidate for Congress, renounced the party’s endorsement in response to Monday’s email.

The state Republican Party earlier this month released a list of more than 100 endorsed candidates for Congress, state legislature and statewide office. As of Wednesday afternoon, Archuleta, who is running in Colorado’s solidly blue 1st Congressional District, remained on the list.

“I have been an avid critic of where the celebration of Pride has gone in recent years and firm supporter of protecting children from environments and entertainments that are of an adult nature. However, this email went too far and was just hateful,” he said Tuesday in a statement.

“This email does NOT Represent the Republican voters of Colorado,” he added.

Archuleta and the Log Cabin Republicans similarly clashed with the state GOP during Pride Month last year, when the party emailed supporters with the subject line “Pride is evil.”

State Democrats also condemned the GOP’s email and social media posts.

“This type of vile hatred has come to define the CO GOP and it’s why we’re organizing up and down the ballot to beat them at all levels,” Colorado Democratic Party Chair Shad Murib wrote on X.

A spokesperson for Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat and the nation’s first openly gay governor, blasted the email in a statement to The Hill.

“What a ridiculous mailer. Governor Polis is focused on creating a Colorado for All where everyone can thrive no matter who they love or how they identify,” the spokesperson wrote. “The Governor looks forward to celebrating Pride Month alongside his fellow Coloradans and will not let the incoherent ramblings of a politician stand in the way.”

Colorado’s Republican Party has increasingly run to the right on LGBTQ issues. In May, the party in a fundraising email advised parents to pull their children out of public schools, citing “LGBTQ indoctrination.”

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