LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan member of the Republican National Committee said Thursday he will not resign after posting an article critical of gay people on his Facebook page, despite calls from members of his own party that he step down.
Dave Agema, who served as a state representative from 2007 until December posted an excerpt from an article titled "Everyone Should Know These Statistics On Homosexuals" on his Facebook page Wednesday. A group of 21 Michigan Republicans, including local precinct delegates and members of the University of Michigan College Republicans, has called it "deplorable."
But Agema told The Associated Press he maintains his belief that marriage is between a man and a woman, and said he will "absolutely not" resign. Agema said he posted the excerpt in light of the arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court this week on California's Proposition 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
Among the claims in the article by Dr. Frank Joseph is that gay people "account for half the murders in large cities." The article, which cites studies from the 1980s for many of its claims, also attributes high medical insurance rates to caring for AIDS patients.
Grand Traverse County precinct delegate and former Cheboygan County drain commissioner Dennis Lennox, who is among those calling on Agema to step down, said he and other Michigan Republicans no longer have confidence in Agema's ability to perform his duties as committeeman.
He also said Agema's actions will only further distance voters from the GOP.
"You can't expect to get undecided voters to vote for you if you spit in their face, and that's exactly what he's done," Lennox said. "He has spit in the face of millions of American who would otherwise be inclined to support the party."
Last month, more than 75 prominent Republicans, including former advisers to former President George W. Bush, signed a legal brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down California's ban on same-sex marriage.
Agema defended himself, saying the post was not his own words, but the author's determination of "facts about the lifestyle."
"It's something that we need to be aware of when we are looking at this," he said. "It affects people's lives."
Michigan Republican Party Chairman Bobby Schostak said in a statement that the Republican Party "remains in support of traditional marriage but that never should be allowed nor confused with any form of hate or discrimination toward anyone."
Any statement in the contrast undermines the party's platform and "common sense conservative message," he said.
RNC Chairman Reince Priebus echoed Schostak's comments.
"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," he said in a statement.
But when asked if Agema should resign, Schostak told reporters that is "between Dave and his family and himself.
"I have no point of view on that at all," he said.