A former state representative and current Michigan Republican National Committee member, Dave Agema, is being criticized for using homophobic slurs and his aversion to same-sex marriage.
Reports indicate that Agema called gay people “filthy homosexuals,” on a website earlier in 2013; he then confirmed his opposition against same-sex marriage on December 5 at the Berrien County Republican Party Holiday Reception.
Agema expressed that he wasn’t bothered by the criticisms he received about his viewpoints, explaining how he felt confident that his opinions were definite based on the firsthand experience he had while working for his former employer American Airlines.
Ever since American Airlines opened their domestic partnership policy to extend to same-sex couples, Agema has claimed that some of his co-workers were telling American Airlines executives that people infected with HIV/AIDS were their partners, simply to get them the company-funded medical attention.
“Folks, they (gay people) want free medical because they’re dying (when they’re) between 30 and 44 years old,” Agema said, according to All Michigan. “To me, it’s a moral issue. It’s a Biblical issue. Traditional marriage is where it should be and it’s in our platform. Those in our party who oppose traditional marriage are wrong.”
These words were spoken as a part of speech Amega was giving at a Republican function.
Amega was elected to be the Michigan representative on the national committee; in April, the Republican National Committee passed a resolution, sponsored by Amega, which confirmed the Republican party agenda and included the party’s opposition to marriage equality.
A politician and writer for The Morning Sun, Dennis Lennox, requested that Committee members reprimand Amega for his offensive comments; however, the Committee laws do not find his actions to be means for dismissal.
“This isn’t about core principles or deeply held religious beliefs,” Lennox wrote. “This is about Mr. Agema’s hateful and unabashed bigotry.”
The Michigan Republican Party will be meeting on December 14 in Lansing, and an Oakland County district chair explained that although Amega’s removal seems unlikely, his actions will impact the 2014 and 2016 elections.
“This is a very sensitive issue,” Welday said. “It’s not about traditional marriage at all; it’s about what is the role of our national committeeman? Is he helping our cause? We’re practicing the politics of subtraction here, and to do that is the fastest way I can think of to become extinct.”
Michigan’s main gay rights group, Equality Michigan, agrees that Agema should be removed from his position, and are fighting hard to get same-sex marriage legalized in the state.