Pressure is increasing on Republican National Committee member Dave Agema to resign after he delivered remarks saying gay people are claiming HIV-positive partners to obtain health care.
The Log Cabin Republicans and the Log Cabin Republicans of Michigan jointly issued a statement on Friday calling for Agema’s ouster on the grounds that he’s imperiling Republican success at the ballot.
Gregory Angelo, executive director of Log Cabin, said resignation is the only appropriate action for Agema in the aftermath of his anti-gay remarks.
“One word: resign,” Angelo said. “Dave Agema has repeatedly shown that he is unfit to represent the many good Republicans in Michigan who understand that his brand of ‘conservatism’ isn’t doing the party any favors.”
Agema has been under fire for remarks he reportedly made at a local Republican Party holiday reception last week in Berrien County. According to the Herald Palladium, Agema said he’s seen gay people working for American Airlines claim to have HIV-infected partners to obtain spousal health coverage.
“Folks, they [gay people] want free medical because they’re dying between 30 and 44 years old,” Agema was quoted as saying. “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.”
According to Log Cabin, there’s currently no mechanism to remove a Republican committee member in Michigan, but the Michigan Republican Party can amend its bylaws to allow for the removal of members who harm Republican prospects of winning elections. Short of that, Log Cabin wants Agema’s colleagues and RNC Chair Reince Priebus to insist he step down.
The Michigan Republican Party will have an opportunity to address the call for Agema’s resignation over the weekend at a Michigan Republican Party state committee meeting. According to the Associated Press, Jason Watts, an activist from Western Michigan, will propose a resolution not mentioning Agema by name, but disavowing the party of “demagogic rhetoric that is incendiary and unbecoming of civil discourse.”
Agema has a history of taking on anti-gay positions. He was responsible for introducing a resolution before the Republican National Committee that reaffirmed the party’s opposition to same-sex marriage. Agema has also compared being gay to being an alcoholic.
Agema, the Michigan Republican Party and the RNC did not respond to the Washington Blade’s request for comment on Log Cabin’s call for Agema’s resignation.
Agema’s remarks have already been condemned by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, Michigan Republican Party Chair Paul Welday, Michigan House Speaker Jase Bolger and Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville.
Joe Sylvester, chair of Log Cabin Republicans of Michigan, said the Michigan Republican Party must find a way to take action against Agema.
“The Michigan Republican Party is acting as if it is helpless in this situation by saying that there is nothing that they can do about it,” Sylvester said. “It’s just a ploy. They are deflecting and hoping the issue goes away. They can do something about it and they should.”