Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) came out Thursday condemning the statements made by GOP National Committeeman Dave Agema that gay people are seeking health insurance for same-sex partners because they are dying of AIDS and want free medical care.
As reported earlier this week on Back2Stonewall, GOP Committeeman Dave Agema made a statement saying that gays only want to marry because we are all dying of AIDS. He then continued by saying that he saw this during his employment at American Airlines where gay employees would say they were partners with someone who had AIDS so they could get healthcare.
Many GOP members have since come out in defense of the LGBT community and condemning Agema’s statements.
Snyder spokeswoman Sara Wurfel said Wednesday that the governor considers the remarks “extreme and discriminatory.”
“We shouldn’t tolerate discrimination of any kind,” said Wurfel. “We must make sure everyone is treated with respect and civility.”
Wurfel did not address calls by some people that Agema should resign.
Ari Adler, spokesperson for Michigan House Speaker Jase Bolger (R), said in an email, “Speaker Bolger is understanding when someone speaks about their faith, but he is disgusted when someone demonizes another person for any reason.”
Paul Welday, 14th District GOP chair, said that Republicans ignoring Agema’s anti-LGBT hate speech do so “at our own peril.” He sent an email to Republican activists saying, “Again, it would seem we have another political firestorm created by comments from our National Committeeman.” Welday said he wrote the email after he was “inundated” with “emails from people across Michigan protesting Dave’s remarks in the most strenuous of terms.”
Dievendorf, from Michigan Equality added,
“In addition to elected leaders coming forward to call Agema’s remarks out for the hate speech it is and evidence surfacing that he lied about American Airline’s motives for extending healthcare benefits to domestic partners, now healthcare professionals are pointing out that his statements about HIV were both factually flawed and harmful to public health interests. Agema is not only harming the very party he claims to love, but the very public he has pledged to serve. Dave Agema has been negligent in his obligations as a true and honest representative of his party and makes a mockery of public service.”
Todd Heywood Michigan Department of Community Health made a statement in regards to Agema’s statement that all gay men are dying from HIV.
“In terms of Michigan data, these comments are not reflective of what our data shows. The prevalence of HIV in Michigan has steadily increased, since persons with HIV are living longer.” Adding, “Any time there is misinformation about any illness or disease being spread, it hinders the public’s ability to protect themselves and make informed decisions.”
American Airlines recently came out with a statement in response to Agema’s accusations. They responded with,
“While it is our company policy not to discuss comments made by former employees, we find these statements to be baseless. We have long-term policies of inclusion, fairness and equality. Because of this commitment, this week, for the 12th consecutive year, American earned a perfect 100-percent score on the HRC Corporate Equality Index. Our policies speak for themselves.”
It is very clean that Dave Agema and his ” beliefs” are clearly not shared by the GOP of his former employer, American Airlines.
As I mentioned in the first blog I wrote about Agema, I emailed his office requesting a statement from him regarding his comments. Of course, no one has responded. I have sent an email to the RNC requesting that he be removed from his position as National Committeeman. I am still waiting for a response.