Pride Flags Will Fly In Colorado Despite Republican Party Call To Burn Them | CBC Radio

As It Happens

Pride celebrations will go on in Colorado despite a Republican Party email branding its participants “godless groomers” and calling on people to burn Pride flags. And at least one Republican candidate is speaking out against his own party.

Candidate Valdamar Archuleta declines his party’s endorsement over ‘God Hates Pride’ emailSheena Goodyear · CBC Radio

· Posted: Jun 06, 2024 6:53 PM EDT | Last Updated: June 7

A person holds their hands in the shape of a heart in front of a Pride flag during a march for solidarity for the those affected after a mass shooting at 2SLGBTQ+ nightclub Club Q, in Colorado Springs, Colo., in 2022. (Isaiah J. Downing/Reuters)Pride celebrations will go on in Colorado despite a Republican Party email branding its participants “godless groomers” and calling on people to burn Pride flags. 

“Our joy and just our celebration alone is a demonstration to these folks who want to kind of stoke this type of hatred that they’re not going to keep us down,” Nadine Bridges, executive director of One Colorado, an 2SLGBTQ+ advocacy organization, told CBC.

“At One Colorado, we’ll hit over 25 Prides across the state, and we’re going to keep doing the things that we need to do.”

In Denver, the state’s capital and home to its largest Pride festival, organizers say they’re working with law enforcement to ensure security, but they won’t be cowed by the recent rhetoric. 

“We’re not going to cut back on it. We’re not going to change it to accommodate folks like this,” said Rex Fuller, CEO of the Centre on Colfax, a community centre that organizes Denver Pride.

“I think that’s the whole point of Pride is being out and proud and being yourself and free expression, and that’s what we’re going to do.”

Republican nominee calls out own party To mark the beginning of Pride month, the Colorado GOP sent an email with the subject line “God Hates Pride,” with a video of a church sermon encouraging people to burn Pride flags. 

“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 message, signed by Dave Williams, the Colorado Republican Party chairperson.

The party later posted on X: “Burn all the #pride flags this June.”

The Colorado Republican Party is calling on people to burn Pride flags this month, drawing condemnation from both sides of the aisle. (@cologop/X)In a social media post, Shad Muri, the state’s Democratic Party chair, says the message is proof that “vile hatred has come to define” Colorado Republicans. 

But Valdamar Archuleta, Republican candidate for the 1st Congressional District in Colorado, disagrees. 

“It’s not representative of who Republicans are as a party, of who Republican voters are in Colorado, nor who we are as a country,” Archuleta told As It Happens host Nil Köksal.

“It was a huge mistake. And I’m just disappointed that the party would do that.”

LISTEN | Why this Republican candidate rejected his party’s endorsement: 

As It Happens6:28Colorado Republican candidate calls out his party over anti-Pride email

Valdamar Archuleta, Republican candidate for the 1st Congressional District in Colorado, tells  As It Happens host Nil Köksal why he refused his party’s formal endorsement after it issued a statement calling people to burn Pride flags.

Archuleta, who is gay and chairs the conservative 2SLGBTQ+ group Log Cabin Republicans, issued a statement condemning Williams’ email and rejecting his party’s formal endorsement.

But he says he stands by his fellow candidates, many of whom have sent him messages of support for speaking out. 

“When I made the decision to reject the endorsement, I wasn’t sure how it would be taken or what would happen,” he said. “I’ve heard nothing but condemnation for what the party did. And I’ve been fully supported.”

Valdamar Archuleta, a congressional Republican candidate in Colorado, has refused his party’s endorsement. (Submitted by Valdamar Archuleta)The Colorado Republican Party did not respond to a request for comment from CBC. But, in an interview with NBC affiliate 9News, Williams stood by the message. 

“We make no apologies for opposing the woke Pride Month agenda as it ultimately harms children and undermines parents,” he said. 

“But Archuleta is the presumptive nominee in an overwhelmingly Democrat-heavy district, so we will of course continue to highlight his candidacy.”

Archuleta says it’s time for Williams and others like him in the party to go so it can focus on issues that matter to voters, like the housing crisis and the cost of living. 

“This whole thing here is just a distraction. It’s something stupid. And it came from one person,” he said.

One Colorado executive director Nadine Bridges, seen here at the U.S. Supreme Court in 2023, says the party’s email risks inciting violence against 2SLGBTQ+ people in Colorado. (David Zalubowski/The Associated Press)Bridges says her organization tries to work with “all elected officials who are pro-justice, pro-equality.”

But she says she doesn’t understand why any leader would risk inciting more violence in a state that has seen several mass shootings, including one at a 2SLGBTQ+ nightclub in 2022.

“I don’t even understand, you know, what they’re thinking,” she said. 

“I only hope that those folks who support these types of leaders start to question their own support and look more to folks who have respect and love for the human condition. Because at the end of the day, we all should want the opportunity to thrive. And anybody who gets in the way of that should be questioned.”

Interview with Valdamar Archuleta produced by Chris Trowbridge

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