Anti-LGBTQ Republicans offer thoughts and prayers after Colorado club shooting

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GOP lawmakers opposed both background checks and protections for LGBTQ Americans like those shot at in the Club Q mass shooting.

Congressional Republicans said they were praying for victims of a mass shooting at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Saturday night. The same lawmakers have opposed LGBTQ protections and gun safety legislation.

The shooting took place at Club Q in Colorado Springs. The attacker killed five people and injured at least 25 more, using a semiautomatic long gun, according to police.

Colorado's three GOP representatives tweeted out statements, offering condolences and prayers for the victims.

"I am saddened to hear of the senseless loss of life in the shooting last night. Law enforcement and first responders are to be commended for their rapid response," wrote Rep. Doug Lamborn. "All people should pray for the victims and their families."

"The news out of Colorado Springs is absolutely awful," said Rep. Lauren Boebert. "This morning the victims & their families are in my prayers. This lawless violence needs to end and end quickly."

"This is horrifying," Rep. Ken Buck added. "Praying for all those affected by the tragic and senseless attack in Colorado Springs."

Republican lawmakers from other states also offered their thoughts and prayers to the victims and their families.

"Deeply saddened to hear of the senseless attack in Colorado Springs. My heart is with the loved ones of the victims as they mourn this unfathomable loss," California Rep. Young Kim tweeted.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said he and his wife were "praying for the victims & loved ones impacted by the horrific shooting in Colorado Springs."

Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene attempted to minimize the attacks by comparing gun violence deaths with drug overdose deaths. Boebert and Greene have both used the homophobic slur "groomer" to describe people who teach kids about the existence of LGBTQ people, suggesting that it is child abuse. Cruz has used similar rhetoric, denouncing "an effort from the left to sexualize everything."

Anti-LGBTQ attacks along those lines have fueled a wave of recent right-wing violence, including an attempt by white nationalists to disrupt a Pride Month event in Idaho, bomb threats at children's hospitals that offer gender-affirming care, intimidation at drag queen story hours, and a spate of murders of transgender and gender-nonconforming people.

Each of these lawmakers has a history of opposing legislation aimed at curbing gun violence and protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination.

In February 2021, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Equality Act, a bill that would explicitly add protections for sexual orientation and gender to federal civil rights laws. Buck, Greene, Kim and Lamborn all voted against the bill. Boebert missed the vote but made clear her opposition; Cruz helped block it in the Senate.

A month later, the House voted to require universal background checks before all gun purchases. Boebert, Buck, Greene, Kim, and Lamborn each cast votes against the bill. Cruz again helped prevent Senate action, deriding the proposal and other gun safety ideas as "ridiculous theater."

The House passed an assault weapons ban in July over GOP opposition.

Boebert told the right-wing outlet Newsmax at the time that such a law could lead to people eating pets. "Well in Venezuela, they eat the dogs and it started because they don't have firearms," she warned. "They do not have a way to protect themselves, to defend themselves against a tyrannical government."

The House also passed a bill in July to guarantee recognition for same-sex and interracial marriages, even if the Supreme Court overturns its previous rulings ensuring marriage equality. Boebert, Buck, Greene, Kim, and Lamborn voted no.

On Nov. 16, Cruz voted against allowing debate on the bill, though it is expected to pass after Thanksgiving over his fierce objections.

In the wake of the Club Q shooting, Colorado's two Democratic senators have called for better protection for LGBTQ Americans.

"As we seek justice for this unimaginable act, we must do more to protect the LGBTQ community and stand firm against discrimination and hate in every form," Sen. Michael Bennet tweeted on Sunday.

Sen. John Hickenlooper tweeted, "Horrendous to hear about the shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs. An unspeakable act. We have to protect LGBTQ lives from this hate."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.