Mass. Republican Committee Woman Will Not Be 'Bullied into Resignation' for Anti-Gay Emails

Thursday June 10, 2021

Deborah Martell
Deborah Martell  (Source:Facebook)

Deborah Martell, the Massachusetts Republican state committee member under fire for anti-gay emails, was adamant on Wednesday, reports The Boston Globe.

"I do not intend to be bullied into resigning," she said according to multiple people in attendance at a closed-door meeting.

Martell, who represents Ludlow on the 80-member committee, had written in emails last month that she was "sickened" that out Republican congressional candidate Jeffrey Sossa-Paquette and his husband had adopted two children. On Wednesday she said her comments were taken out of context and she has no intention on resigning despite being asked to do by most leading Republicans, including Governor Charlie Baker.

"I heard he was a 'married' homosexual man, who adopted children. I was sickened to hear this," Martell wrote in a May 15 e-mail to fellow Republicans, which was obtained by the Globe. Sossa-Paquette confronted Martell after receiving a copy of the e-mail and told her he was going to go public with it.

"I am a Catholic who loves God and His Ten Commandments. I wish the best for every person in the world, including you!" Martell wrote back to Sossa-Paquette on May 19, according to an e-mail reviewed by the Globe. "What sickened me was that you adopted children. . . . Children deserve a mom and a dad. That's how God designed marriage and the family."

"Many in the party, including Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, have condemned Martell, calling her remarks abhorrent and out of step with the GOP's embrace of individual liberty," writes the Globe. "But Martell has become something of a martyr to some social conservatives in Massachusetts, who claim she is being unfairly attacked for her religious beliefs."

In response to Martell's stance, the committee supported a resolution stating that bigotry and intolerance "have no place in the Republican Party of Massachusetts," though the Globe adds the final resolution was considerably watered down. The resolution, written State Representative Shawn Dooley, a Republican from Norfolk, "originally stated that any member of the committee espousing hateful ideology should receive 'swift condemnation,' and receive no endorsement or support from the state GOP. That language was stripped out of the resolution before it was approved."

Last week GOP Chairman Jim Lyons refused to condemn Martell. While acknowledging her remarks were offensive, he insisted that the party must be "unafraid to stand up against censorship and 'cancel culture.' "

Lyons added: "Members of the Massachusetts House Republican caucus are demanding that I force a woman of deep Catholic faith to resign from the Massachusetts Republican State Committee Party bylaws are clear: freedom of speech and religious liberty are values that are unbending and uncompromising."