Colorado GOP Calls LGBTQ+ People 'Groomers,' Pushes To Burn Pride Flags

The Colorado Republican Party kicked off Pride month by describing LGBTQ+ people as “godless groomers” and calling for Pride flags to be burned.

The party sent out a fundraising email early Monday with a series of false claims that baselessly equate LGBTQ+ people with pedophiles — rhetoric that dates back to anti-gay activist Anita Bryant’s “Save Our Children” campaign in the 1970s.

“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,” read the email, which was signed by state GOP chair and congressional candidate Dave Williams.

The email also called LGBTQ+ people “creeps″ and “reprobates,” and included a link to a sermon, prefaced with a thumbnail reading “God Hates Flags,” by evangelical pastor Mark Driscoll, who last year also declared a “war on the LGBT agenda.”

The message closed by promising that the party would seek “every opportunity” to work with lawmakers to ban the “barbaric” practice of providing gender-affirming care for transgender youth.

In addition to the email sent on Monday, the Colorado GOP made several posts on X (formerly Twitter) earlier this week railing against Pride month.

After 9News reporter Kyle Clark first reported on the inflammatory fundraising email, the official Colorado Republican Party account posted a GIF of flames with the message, “Burn all the #Pride flags this June.” The party went on to repost several posts demonizing Pride month, including some by the inflammatory anti-LGBTQ+ account LibsOfTikTok.

Last month, the Colorado GOP sent out a separate email warning about the dangers of “LGBTQ indoctrination” in public schools and claiming that Democrats wanted to “turn more kids trans.” The party urged Colorado parents to remove their kids from public schools after Democratic Gov. Jared Polis, the first openly gay man elected governor in the U.S., signed a bill into law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender expression in school, preempting policies that would seek to ban teachers from using students’ chosen name and pronouns.

“We make no apologies for saying God hates pride or pride flags as it’s an agenda that harms children and undermines parental authority, and 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,” Williams wrote in an email statement to HuffPost. He added that the party will work with state legislators and pursue ballot initiatives to try to block access to gender-affirming care for children in the state.

Williams, who has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump and Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), is running in Colorado’s 5th Congressional District — which includes Colorado Springs, where five people were killed and nearly two dozen were injured in a mass shooting at LGBTQ+ nightclub Club Q in 2022. It’s a competitive race, and Williams’ primary challenger, Jeff Crank, is a conservative podcast host.

The state, though home to some arch-conservative enclaves, is also known for its progressive policies protecting transgender residents. In 2023, Colorado became the first state in the country to explicitly require many insurance providers to cover gender-affirming care in their lowest-tier plan, as “essential health benefits.” With the rise of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation across the country, including in several bordering states, Colorado has become a safe haven for families of transgender youth.

Valdamar Archuleta, the president of Colorado’s Log Cabin Republicans chapter, a conservative LGBTQ+ organization, was quick to renounce the state party’s email.

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

Archuleta, an openly gay man, is running unopposed in the Congressional District 1 Republican primary. He told 9News on Wednesday he believes that Williams is trying to emulate Trump’s personality and tactics, and that the state’s GOP messaging of “God Hates Flags,” is a clear nod to a similar hateful slogan used by Westboro Baptist Church picketers.

The primary election for all eight of Colorado’s congressional districts will be on June 25.