Colorado GOP rebuked by Republicans, Democrats after calling for burning Pride flags

June is Pride Month.

ByKiara Alfonseca and Jeff Cook
June 5, 2024, 6:47 PM

The Colorado GOP is being criticized for an inflammatory email with the subject line "God Hates Pride" and a video titled “God Hates Flags” that demonizes Pride Month and portrays the LGBTQ community with longstanding false tropes.

The email, sent by the group on Monday, suggests that the LGBTQ community is "godless" and aims to "harm our children," mimicking claims about the community that advocates have called dangerous.

As criticism began to flood in, the Colorado GOP doubled down on their message on Wednesday, posting on X: "Burn all the #pride flags this June."

The email, sent to party members, prompted criticism from several local Republican politicians, including Valdamar Archuleta. Archuleta, a gay man running to be the Republican candidate for U.S. Congress in Denver, has rejected the endorsement he earned from the state party just one day prior.

Archuleta said he's a "critic of where the celebration of Pride has gone in recent years" but said the email "went too far and was just hateful," according to a post on X.

He continued, "I personally found it very troubling. I spoke with many LGBT and non LGBT Republicans yesterday who also found the message in the email disgusting and offensive. This email does NOT Represent the Republican voters of Colorado.

In this Feb. 23, 2024, file photo, Governor Jared Polis speaks to the press following a reception at the White House during the National Governors Association Winter Meeting in Washington, D.C.
Nathan Posner/Shutterstock, FILE

Republican Commissioner of Douglas County Abe Laydon, who came out as gay in 2022 and represents one the most populated conservative areas of Colorado, called the email "absolutely atrocious" and antithetical to his religious and party values, according to local news outlet Westword.

Democratic State House Rep David Ortiz, a bisexual military veteran, was also among the critics.

"Y’all, under your current leadership, have more in common with the Taliban than the founding fathers. LGBTQ folks served and serve in the military. We are cops, we are firefighters, we are your family members & neighbors."

The call is reminiscent of Colorado's history as “the Hate State," which became the state's colloquial moniker after the passage of Amendment 2, which restricted queer people from claiming minority status, protected status or asserting claims of discrimination in the '90s.

The movement for Amendment 2 was led by anti-LGBTQ religious fundamentalists from Colorado Springs, according to the Colorado Springs Pioneer Museum.

The politically active Christian evangelical community earned national attention for stoking culture wars focused on feminism, LGBTQ rights and abortion – earning Colorado Springs itself the reputation of “the city of hate and bigotry.”

A pride flag is flown in the first half between the Colorado Rapids and Minnesota United at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, in Commerce City, Colorado, on May 25, 2024,
Isaiah J. Downing/USA Today Sports via Reuters

The call comes as the nation experiences a record-breaking tide of over 500 anti-LGBTQ bills and a rise in anti-LGBTQ attacks, hate incidents, threats and more.

The state has since largely become Democratic, while maintaining pockets of conservative communities.

Colorado's Governor Jared Polis is an openly gay man and had just honored Pride Month on social media on June 1: "Pride Month in Colorado is a time of celebration, advocacy, and visibility for the LGBTQ+ community. This month, we honor the history of the LGBTQ+ rights movement and recognize the ongoing fight for equality."

A spokesperson for the governor called the email "ridiculous."

"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," a spokesperson for the official said in a statement to ABC News. "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.”

ABC News has reached out to the Colorado GOP for comment.

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