Activists want GOP rebuke of anti-gay comments

A normally routine meeting of the Michigan Republican Party this weekend could get dicey when activists move to rebuke statements such as GOP National Committee member Dave Agema's recent assertion that gay people want health coverage because of the threat of AIDS.
AP Wire
Dec 15, 2013

Jason Watts, secretary of Allegan County's Republican Party, has proposed a resolution for Saturday's meeting to disavow Republicans who use the party platform to "espouse demagogic rhetoric that is incendiary and unbecoming of civil discourse."

Agema's name does not appear on what is being called a de-facto censure motion, which also affirms the party's support of marriage as only between a man and woman.

Agema, who came under fire in March for posting an article on Facebook claiming gays account for half of murders in large cities, told Berrien County Republicans last week that his experience as an American Airlines pilot made him familiar with efforts by gays to get health insurance coverage because of the ravages of AIDS.

"Folks, they want free medical because they're dying between 38 and 44 years old," he said.

Agema, who said his words were twisted out of context, has not backed down and has accused some in the GOP who support gay marriage of causing dissension within the ranks. It wasn't clear if he planned to attend Saturday's meeting, as he couldn't be reached for comment Friday.

Gov. Rick Snyder and other top Republicans condemned Agema's comments this week. But Watts said the party should respond, too, when it meets in Lansing.

"He just made up things toward the end of the speech about homosexuals, and that's what I have a problem with," Watts said.

The committee has no power to remove Agema from the RNC because he was elected to a four-year term at a 2012 party convention.

Because the resolution was introduced so close to the meeting, Watts missed a seven-day deadline to introduce the measure. It is possible, though unlikely, that the full committee could waive the rule with two-thirds support, said party spokesman Darren Littell.

So the issue may just be taken up by a subcommittee for now or tabled altogether.

"This is a chance for the Republican Party to prove that it has learned its lesson that tone and message matters," said Dennis Lennox, a GOP activist who has been critical of Agema.

Also Saturday, the party plans to adopt rules for its 2014 convention to require lieutenant governor candidates to give notice of their campaigns in advance like other statewide candidates already do.

Gubernatorial candidates run in primaries, but the attorney general, secretary of state and other statewide officials are nominated at party conventions. In past conventions, it was possible for a lieutenant governor candidate to show up at the last minute with signatures, something backers of Lt. Gov. Brian Calley want to avoid.

Tea party activist Wes Nakagiri has announced a bid against Calley to protest Snyder's expansion of Medicaid.

"The grassroots has always had a say in who is nominated to secretary of state, attorney general and all the other offices," Littell said. "We are going to continue that with the lieutenant governor."

The party also is expected to consider censuring Doug Sendequist, a committee member from Delta County facing criminal charges stemming from incidents in Michigan and Wisconsin.

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Comments

ithinkso1

What is he thinking??? Stating the obvious like he did, don't he know that will make the "vocal minority" mad?

bigdeal

Are you coming out of the closet here ithinkso1? Congrats!

Mystic Michael

Let's face it: No one is ever going to tame or civilize the knuckle draggers, the troglodytes, and the misanthropes of the Republican Party. More often than not, the activists and the protestors have a valid case to make, and it's entertaining to observe them as they try to bring civility & reform to the GOP. But it's like preaching the merits of vegetarianism at a hot dog eating contest.

At the end of the day, it's their party - the party of intolerance & bigotry & xenophobia. It's the party of Rush Limbaugh, and Sean Hannity, and Michael Savage, and Ann Coulter. It's the one place where the bigots can still go to be with those of their own kind; where their bigotry is not only accepted, but celebrated. In other words, the GOP is the one place where bigots can still feel safe to "come out of the closet", and be "openly bigoted".

So be it, I say. Let them be who they really want to be. And let the rest of the country come to terms with how they feel about that - and what, if any, role they may yet have to play in our society.

Wingmaster

Look who's screaming intolerance! One who moves away, then visits the local newspaper to preach his version of politics and name call people who don't subscribe to his way of thinking! Yep, open minded and tolerant as he!!.

Mystic Michael

You're the only one here who's screaming...

Tolerance of intolerance is no virtue. Silence is complicity. Passivity is consent.

Lanivan

Dave Agema, holding the position of GOP National Committee member - a national office, mind you, makes statements as an invited (and probably paid) representative speaker at a state GOP conference, that are highly inflammatory, judgemental, mean-spirited, bigoted, and with no reinforcement of opinions with facts.

In addition to his remarks last week regarding gays who partner with the sole intent of getting "free health care" because they are all dying of AIDS, last March, Agema came under fire for approvingly posting on Facebook an article that said gay people were sexually promiscuous, rife with sexually transmitted diseases and responsible for "half the murders in large cities."

Besides the obvious lack of reason, respect, intellect, and facts, Dave Agema also lacks common sense. I would ask him: Dave - Are you insinuating only gay people - never heterosexuals - marry for free health care? That heterosexual people are not sexually promiscuous, do not contract sexually-transmitted diseases, or commit murders in large cities?

I'm taking bets I would get the same response from him as reporters did on Friday: "Dave Agema can not be reached for comment".

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