Colorado GOP Condemned for ‘Harmful’ Anti-LGBTQ Call to ‘Burn All the Pride Flags’ This Month

Colorado GOP chairman Dave Williams — who is currently running for Congress with Donald Trump's endorsement — was proudly behind the dangerous messaging

<p>Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post/Getty</p> 2019 Pride celebrations in Denver, Colo.

Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post/Getty

2019 Pride celebrations in Denver, Colo.

The Colorado Republican Party is facing immense backlash after the organization sent an anti-LGBTQ+ email to its supporters — and then doubled down by calling for Pride flags to be burned.

According to a report from the Denver Post, the Colorado GOP sent out an email on Monday, June 3, with the title "God hates pride."

Related: Daughter of Store Owner Killed Over Pride Flag Dispute Says Mom Was ‘an Incredible Person’ Who Helped Others

The body of the email contained anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric — such as calling supporters of LGBTQ+ equality “godless groomers,” according to local ABC affiliate station Denver7 — and a video from a pastor discussing similar themes. The thumbnail of the video also reads: “God hates flags,” according to the Post, in an apparent reference to the Westboro Baptist Church, which went viral years ago for carrying banners with anti-LGBTQ+ slurs.

The email was signed by Colorado GOP chairman Dave Williams, a former state representative who is currently running for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives with the backing of Donald Trump.

After the email was sent out, the Colorado GOP then shared a post to X (formerly Twitter) calling for Republicans to "burn all the #pride flags this June."

Related: Wisc. Homeowners Who Were Told to Take Down Pride Flag Find Colorful Loophole to Show Support

ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Colorado GOP Condemned for ‘Hateful’ Anti-LGBTQ Call to ‘Burn All the Pride Flags’ This Month
ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Colorado GOP Condemned for ‘Hateful’ Anti-LGBTQ Call to ‘Burn All the Pride Flags’ This Month

The backlash from Republicans, Democrats and independent organizations was swift.

Rocky Mountain Equality, a local Colorado LGBTQ+ advocacy group, told the Post that Williams' rhetoric was "harmful" and "extremist."

“As we enter Pride Month, a time for the LGBTQ community to celebrate who we are and find connection with others, some groups would still wipe us from existence if they could,” Rocky Mountain Executive Director Mardi Moore told the outlet. “We know that these extremist groups do not represent all Coloradans, but that doesn’t make statements like the Republican Party’s call to burn Pride flags or the rhetoric from the anti-LGBTQ activists leading efforts to put hateful measures on our November ballots any less harmful.”

Related: Biden Reaffirms Commitment to LGBTQ+ Community as Pride Month Begins, Denouncing ‘Hateful Laws’ and Violence

Valdamar Archuleta, who leads the state chapter of the LGBTQ+ group Log Cabin Republicans, also spoke out against the aggressive messaging.

"I think the worst thing in there was the video they embedded into the email which was titled 'God Hates Flags' because of the obvious reference to the Westboro Baptist Church," Archuleta told Denver7. "It's really bad optics. It's a really bad message. All it's doing is being divisive and non-inclusive, and that's not who we are as Republicans."

Related: Joe Biden Rules Out Pardon for Hunter as He Vows to Respect Any Verdict in Son's Federal Gun Trial

Following the anti-Pride statements, Archuleta rejected an endorsement from the Colorado GOP as he runs for Congress in the 1st District, the outlet added.

"Seeing that this endorsement came from the group of people who sent out that email — I'm just talking about the few people who are in the state party at the top — it was not something that I wanted to represent myself or my campaign," Archuleta said.

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

On the other side of the aisle, Democrats in Colorado, including the party's chair, Shad Murib, said that Williams' email was full of "bigotry," according to the Post.

"Until they grow a backbone and dismiss this, we will assume that the CO GOP is speaking for [the state's Republican elected officials] and all GOP nominees and we’ll make sure CO voters know it," Murib wrote in an X post on Monday following the release of the email. "There’s no more room for this."

Related: Lawmaker with Transgender Daughter Responds to Colleague's Transphobic Sign Outside Her Office

A number of Colorado Republican Party officials, including county leadership, have called for Williams to resign. An open letter shared to Facebook stated that "a very divisive email message was sent that is not in alignment with the voices of over one million Republicans in the state of Colorado."

Williams, however, has not backed down, telling both outlets that he stands behind his anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric.

"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," he said in a statement.

For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on People.