RNC Member Guilty of Anti-Gay Bigotry, Say Fellow Republicans

by Winnie McCroy

EDGE Editor

Tuesday December 10, 2013

An anti-gay member of the Republican National Committee made waves at a GOP holiday party last week, when he allegedly accused gays of pushing for health care reform because they die earlier.

According to the Huffington Post, Michigan RNC Committee member Dave Agema made his controversial comments at a Berrien County Republican Party Holiday Reception last Thursday, saying that he witnessed gay coworkers at American Airlines claiming AIDS victims as lovers to get health care coverage.

"(Gay people) want free medical because they're dying (when they're) between 30 and 44 years old," said Agema as reported in the southwest Michigan newspaper, the Herald Palladium. "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."

Agema's source of factual information about LGBTs seems to be seriously flawed, at least according to the information he reportedly cites. He has compared being gay to being an alcoholic, urging people to help them "get out of it."

"So if you really love someone, if you really were concerned about someone, if you saw your friend, for example, dying of alcoholism would you just stand quietly by and watch it happen?" he asked during the "Washington Watch Live with Tony Perkins" radio program in April. "Or would you speak up and say, 'hey, I want to help you.'"

Agema served three terms in the Michigan House of Representatives from the 74th District, served 27 years in the U.S. Air Force as a fighter pilot and trainer and was a senior commercial airline pilot for 27 years.

After Agema made remarks denouncing "filthy homosexuals" and speaking harshly against marriage equality, his fellow Republicans also began taking issue with his comments.

According to Michigan Live, Grand Traverse County party precinct delegate Dennis Lennox wrote a letter to the Michigan Republican Committee asking them to censure Agema, saying, "This isn't about core principles or deeply held religious beliefs," Lennox wrote. "This is about Mr. Agema's hateful and unabashed bigotry."

Agema's own party has called for him to step down, saying that Michigan Republicans no longer have faith in his ability to perform his duties as committeeman, and that his actions will further distance voters from the GOP. But Agema reportedly told the Associated Press that he believes marriage is between a man and a woman, and would "absolutely not" resign.

Even RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said that Agema has gone too far, saying in a statement that, "The party's position on traditional marriage is clear but as I have been saying, all human beings deserve to be treated with dignity and respect."

Winnie McCroy is the Women on the EDGE Editor, HIV/Health Editor, and Assistant Entertainment Editor for EDGE Media Network, handling all women's news, HIV health stories and theater reviews throughout the U.S. She has contributed to other publications, including The Village Voice, Gay City News, Chelsea Now and The Advocate, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.