Some Mass. Republicans Call Out Party Committee Member Over Homophobic Comments, Others Do Not

Thursday June 3, 2021

Jeffrey Sossa-Paquette with his children, Ashley and Rylan, and his husband, Julian  (Source:
Jeffrey Sossa-Paquette with his children, Ashley and Rylan, and his husband, Julian (Source:  

Massachusetts Republican Governor Charlie Baker and Massachusetts GOP Vice Chair Tom Mountain spoke out against Debbie Martell, the Republican state committeewoman who circulated emails saying the choice of gay Republican congressional candidate Jeffrey Sossa-Paquette and his husband to adopt "sickened" her, the Boston Globe reported.

"Deborah Martell's comments about Jeffrey Sossa-Paquette and his family are abhorrent and have no place in public discourse and of course have no place in the leadership of a political party founded on protecting individual freedom," Baker said in a statement.

On Tuesday Mountain called Martell and "formally asked her to resign, advising her that the state committee would likely censure her at its next meeting on June 9," wrote the Globe. "Mountain told Martell that the committee does not have the power to expel her but she has lost the good will of many of her colleagues.

"We don't want someone who's antigay on our state committee," Mountain said. "She made our party look really bad, and she did a bad thing. That's the bottom line. The time for apologies has come and gone."

He added: "I told her you must resign, it's over, goodbye. What she did was wrong. It was immoral. We don't have any room in the party for such things. And I'm not going to put up with it."

Debbie Martell  

The Boston Globe reported earlier this week that Martell wrote in emails that circulated to fellow Republicans that read: "I heard he was a 'married' homosexual man, who adopted children. I was sickened to hear this," Sossa-Paquette confronted Martell after receiving a copy of the e-mail and told her he was going to go public with it.

But state GOP Chairman Jim Lyons, the de facto leader of a more socially conservative wing of the party, has been mum on the issue.

"Sossa-Paquette said Lyons has also ignored his messages, and when he finally reached the chairman on the phone, 'he basically just told me he's not going to get involved." Lyons is "washing his hands of it,' he told the Globe.

He added that he's been disappointed with both Martell's comments and the lack of a response from Lyons. "This does not represent the Republican Party that I've defended for the last 20 years of my life," Sossa-Paquette said. "I'm not going to tolerate any bigotry coming out of my own party or the Democratic Party. It just doesn't belong. Anyone who does that should not be in office."

Sossa-Paquette is seeking a seat held by Representative Jim McGovern, a Democrat.

Martell represents Ludlow on the 80-member Republican State Committee. In an email written to fellow Republicans, she wrote on May 15: "I heard he was a 'married' homosexual man, who adopted children. I was sickened to hear this.

After he learned of the email, Sossa-Paquette confronted Martell, telling her he planned on going public with her remarks. She responded to him with the following: "I am a Catholic who loves God and His Ten Commandments. I wish the best for every person in the world, including you!... What sickened me was that you adopted children. . . . Children deserve a mom and a dad. That's how God designed marriage and the family."