Due to the presence of Focus on the Family (FOF), a sizable and long-standing Christian anti-queer hate group that is one of the most vehemently anti-LGBTQ outfits in the country, Colorado Springs, Colorado, which is home to Club Q, a gay bar where a mass shooting on Saturday night left five dead and 18 injured, is arguably one of the most anti-LGBTQ cities in the country.
When James Dobson founded FOF, it was in 1977. It is conceivably the biggest theocratic-right group in the country.
The organization, which recently registered as a church with the IRS in order to conceal its donors, has a four-building complex on a 47-acre property in north Colorado. It has raised more than $515 million in the past few years, much of which is used to support anti-LGBTQ public campaigns and candidates backed by CitizenLink, a related organization to FOF. FOF has partnerships in 60 nations, over 800 employees, and 14 international offices.
In general, FOF opposes anything that advances the so-called “homosexual agenda,” including the ideas of tolerance and diversity, which, in Dobson’s words, are “buzzwords for homosexual advocacy,” as well as same-sex marriage and sex education in schools (aside from “abstinence-only” programs). FOF also supports so-called conversion therapy. The movement for LGBTQ rights has been referred to as a “particularly evil lie of Satan” by the group.
The same-sex marriage proponents, according to Dobson, are like Nazis who want “the utter destruction of the family.”
The group claims that the ‘homosexual movement’ aims for things like ‘universal acceptance of the gay lifestyle, the discrediting of Scriptures that condemn homosexuality, muzzling of the clergy and Christian media, granting special privileges and rights in the law, overturning laws prohibiting pedophilia, indoctrinating children and future generations through public education, and securing all the legal benefits of marriage for any two or more people who claim to h.
FOF established Love Won Out in 1998 as a ministry that supports conversion therapy. These therapies view LGBTQ identity as a mental illness or an anti-Christian spiritual conflict that needs to be resolved using methods of psychological torture that are widely condemned. Most major American medical and psychological associations have condemned the practice.
The group also organized a “Day of Dialogue” occasion for public school students as a direct response to the yearly student-led “Day of Silence” protest against anti-LGBTQ bullying. The legal organization Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) and the now-defunct ex-gay therapy group Exodus International effectively started the Day of Dialogue in 2005, and FOF took over in 2010.
Additionally, FOF has argued that workplace anti-discrimination legislation “must be stopped” because, if it were to become law, employers might be forced to defend their decision to fire queer employees on the basis of their “moral convictions.” Marriage equality, according to Jim Daly, FOF’s CEO for the previous ten years, would destroy civilization.
The Colorado Springs region is extremely conservative even without FOF.
House Representative Doug Lamborn (R), who represents the district and was recently re-elected with 56 percent of the vote, opposes same-sex marriage, supports discrimination against LGBTQ people, and recently introduced the “Stop the Sexualization of Children Act,” a national measure that would prohibit LGBTQ identities from being displayed in classrooms. He has previously called for the termination of PBS funding due to the appearance of a gay cartoon rat and a queer celebrity on Sesame Street.
According to FBI statistics, the number of anti-LGBTQ hate crimes in Colorado increased yearly between 2018 and 2020. The number of hate crimes involving sexual orientation nearly doubled between 2018 and 2019, and the number of hate crimes involving gender identity nearly doubled between 2019 and 2020.