A prominent Michigan Republican was not backing down or apologizing
Thursday as he faced calls for his resignation over an antigay posting on his
Republican national committeeman Dave Agema's post Wednesday, during U.S. Supreme Court oral arguments on same-sex marriage, was based on an online article titled, "Everyone Should Know These Statistics on Homosexuals," which appeared under the byline Frank Joseph, M.D.
The post depicts gay people as sexually promiscuous, rife with sexually transmitted diseases and responsible for "half the murders in large cities." It cites 30-year-old studies for some of its statistics and sources such as the Congressional Record and special-interest groups for others.
Kalamazoo County Republican Chairman David Worthams was among those who called Thursday on Agema to resign.
"I basically find what Agema has said to be very reprehensible," Worthams told the Free Press. "It makes my job more difficult as the county chair," and it appears "his ego will not allow him to apologize."
On Wednesday, Grand Traverse County Republican precinct delegate Dennis Lennox, a former county drain commissioner, issued a statement signed by 20 other Republicans condemning Agema's "deplorable actions" and calling for his resignation. The statement was signed mostly by precinct delegates and youth leaders, but also was joined Thursday by Saginaw County Republican Chairman Brian Frey, Lennox said.
"This isn't about what we believe, either politically or as women and men of faith," the statement said. "This is about common decency and realizing that you cannot win an election by insulting a wide swath of the electorate, whose votes our Republican Party needs to once again form a national majority."
Agema of Grandville, a former state lawmaker who was elected to the Republican National Committee in May, responded Wednesday to criticism of the post by saying: "It's not hate. It's facts derived from several studies. The trouble is many don't like facts."
In an e-mailed statement Thursday, Agema struck a different tone, saying he posted something someone else had written and "some publications and even a few liberal Republicans have chosen to take the words of someone else and cast them as my own."
But he also said the article was "a piece worth sharing" in light of the Supreme Court arguments. In a separate statement, he said: "I will not back down," and "I will dig in and fight even harder to defend our conservative values from these attacks by liberals in the media, and even in our own party."
He was circulating an online petition seeking support.
GOP leaders distanced themselves from Agema's remarks without explicitly condemning him.
Michigan Republican Chairman Bobby Schostak told the Associated Press that he has "no point of view at all" on Agema's resignation, saying it's "between Dave and his family and himself."
Schostak earlier issued a statement saying most Republicans believe in traditional marriage, but "that should never be ... confused with any form of hate or discrimination toward anyone," and "any statement or message in contrast undermines our party's platform and our common sense conservative message."
National RNC Chairman Reince Priebus told Time magazine that "the party's position on traditional marriage is clear," but "all human beings deserve to be treated with dignity and respect."
Agema also was getting support.
"We commend Rep. Agema for trying to warn people about the severe medical consequences associated with ... homosexual behavior," said Gary Glenn, the head of the American Family Association's Michigan affiliate and a former Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate.
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