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Jeffrey Beall/Wikimedia Commons (CC-BY)
Did the anti-LGBTQ group have a change of heart?
BY NICO LANG
A campaign video targeting openly gay gubernatorial candidate Jared Polis mysteriously disappeared just days before the Colorado midterms.
An advertisement featuring Masterpiece Cakeshop plaintiff Jack Phillips warned that if Polis becomes the state’s first openly LGBTQ governor, discrimination against Christians will become the norm. Phillips took his case to the Supreme Court after the state’s civil rights commission fined him for refusing to bake a cake for a gay couple’s wedding.
“Assaults on Jack’s faith—and yours—could get even worse if Boulder’s own Jared Polis becomes governor,” the Family Policy Alliance-sponsored ad claimed.
Polis currently leads Republican Walker Stapleton by an average of seven points in opinion polls. Should he prevail over Colorado’s State Treasurer on Nov. 6, Family Policy Alliance warns the Democrat would “appoint more radical members” to the commission.
Family Policy Alliance President and CEO Paul Weber further called Colorado’s gubernatorial race “one of the most-watched races in the country.”
“The decision Colorado voters make will impact Jack Phillips and other people of faith in Colorado—and beyond—for years to come,” Weber claimed in a statement released in conjunction with the Oct. 25 ad.
“The country watched as the Supreme Court ruled against the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, condemning them for their hostility toward Jack’s faith,” he continued. “Now they are watching again to see if Colorado voters will say ‘enough is enough—I will stand with Jack.’”
Aside from the obvious fear-mongering, there’s one more problem with Family Policy Alliance’s commercial: It’s nowhere to be found on the conservative anti-LGBTQ group’s website.
A Thursday press release links to the ad twice. A hyperlink now redirects to a webpage asking supporters to donate to Family Policy Alliance ahead of the midterms, particularly “in key target districts and battleground states where victory is decided by a handful of voters in county after county.”
Conservatives can give $25, $50, $100, $250, $500, or $1,000—or enter their own preferred total instead.
The second seeming link to the video is located near the end of the online press release. A screenshot of the video features Phillips’ face next to a slogan trumpeting so-called “religious freedom.” “Stand With Jack,” the image implores.
A click on that photo also leads to the same donation page.
Two other webpages devoted to Phillips’ video now lead to 404s. The pages are titled “Vote for Jack Phillips?” and “Jared Polis vs. Jack-Phillips? What Every Colorado Voter Needs to Know.”
The advertisement is no longer available on Family Policy Alliance’s YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter pages either, although INTO could not confirm whether the video had ever been posted to those accounts. When this publication reached out to the far-right group to inquire as to their disappearance, it did not respond.
Even an embed of the commercial included in a Fox News story claims the “video is unavailable.” The conservative news site notes the ad is scheduled to run “in digital markets throughout Colorado.”
It’s unclear at the time of publication whether that is still the plan.
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Phillips became the center of a nationwide debate over “religious liberty” after the Supreme Court ruled in his favor in a “narrow” 7-2 verdict decided on procedural grounds. Justice claimed the Colorado Civil Rights Commission had not given neutral consideration to the baker’s faith beliefs in its decision-making.
Although SCOTUS did not weigh in on whether his Christian faith gave Phillips the constitutional right to deny the couple service, Phillips may be headed to court again after refusing to bake a gender transition cake for a trans woman.