The Michigan Republican who posted a controversial anti-gay article on his Facebook page Wednesday is now defending his actions and says that calls for his resignation are a “joke,” Michigan Live reported Thursday.
Dave Agema, who serves as a Michigan Republican National Committeeman, found himself in hot water Wednesday after sharing an article titled "Everyone Should Know These Statistics on Homosexuals" on his Facebook page. Among other things, the article depicted gays and lesbians as “filthy” and alluded that gays and lesbians are trying to “infiltrate society” so that they can “have access to the malleable minds of young children.”
Agema’s post immediately sparked outrage among members of his own party, who are now calling for Agema’s resignation as a member of the Republican National Committee.
"This isn't about what we believe either politically or as women and men of faith. This is about common decency," Dennis Lennox, who is leading the Republican coalition calling for Agema's resignation, said in a statement. “We do not have confidence in Mr. Agema representing the best interests of our fellow Michigan Republicans and as a result ask him to resign from his seat on the Republican National Committee."
However, Agema -- a former Michigan state representative -- is standing by his actions and says that the calls for his resignation are a “joke.”
“First, I didn’t write these words, I simply posted them,” Agema wrote in an email to supporters, according to Michigan Live. “More importantly, I will not back down. 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.”
The email also asked for supporters to sign a petition to “show [Michigan Republican Party] Chairman [Bobby] Schostak and others that you support my efforts to stand up for conservatives values.”
Agema’s Facebook post has not only sparked local outrage, but has also caused national political figures to distance themselves from the Michigan Republican leader.
In a statement provided to Time Magazine, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said that “the party’s position on traditional marriage is clear,” but that “all human beings deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.” However, Priebus did not go as far as to directly condemn Agema’s actions.
According to Time, the party’s rules do not provide national party leaders the power to remove state party leaders.
Jimmy LaSalvia, executive director of GOProud, however, offered stronger criticisms on the Agema controversy, calling Agema’s comments “outrageous.”
“Conservatives in Michigan get it,” LaSalvia wrote in a statement Thursday. “They understand that while we can disagree on issues like marriage, our movement and our party cannot and should not tolerate rank anti-gay bigotry.”
“Dave Agema's comments do not reflect the conservative movement or the Republican Party,” LaSalvia added.