Comment Controversy: Michigan Republican getting attention for - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Comment Controversy: Michigan Republican getting attention for remarks about gay marriage


A Michigan Republican is getting a lot of attention for remarks he made about gay marriage and AIDS during the Berrien County Republican Party Holiday party.

A Herald-Palladium reporter was at the event last Thursday and recorded Republican Party Committeeman Dave Agema saying the following:

"When you tear the family apart, you tear the country apart. I worked with these individuals for almost 30 years with American (Airlines). I know what they do. I know what happened to American Airlines when San Francisco said we could not land in San Francisco and do business with American Airlines unless we paid same sex unmarried benefits.

"The pilots said, 'Bologna. Don't go there anymore.'

"Can't do it. Too big a market. Can't do it. Well, what happened? Say me and, what's your name again, first name? Martha. I'm a flight attendant. You have AIDS. You come to me and say, 'hey, tell them I'm your lover for the last six months.' You get on our health care. American Airlines spends $400,000 before you die of AIDS. And he goes on to the next, and the next, and that's what was happening.

"Folks, they want free medical because they're dying between 38 and 44 years old. It's a biggie. So, to me it's a moral issue. It's a Biblical issue. Traditional marriage is where it should be and that is in our platform, so people that are opposed on that issue within our party are wrong. It's in our platform. (audience applause)"

The story has gained national attention after the Herald-Palladium first reported the story over the weekend.

The Associated Press reports Republican Governor Rick Snyder condemned Agema's statement.  A spokeswoman said the governor considers the remarks "extreme and discriminatory." 

FOX28 called Committeeman Agema for a response, but we haven't heard back. 

We spoke with Brian Savage who serves as the Chairman of OutCenter.  He's an openly gay Republican in Benton Harbor.  "Mr. Agema's remarks were absolutely outrageous and quite frankly unacceptable," Savage says.  "The fact of the matter is it's 2013 and gay and lesbian couples want to be recognized.  There's no more going back into the closet for those folks.  They're in long term committed relationships and they want protections."

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