Dave Agema made the comments against people living with HIV and the LGBT communities while speaking Dec. 5 at the Berrien County Republican Party Holiday Reception, according to Equality Michigan, a statewide LGBT advocacy group.
While speaking against marriage equality, Agema said that during his time with American Airlines he witnessed LGBT workers claiming a person living with AIDS as their partner simply so that person could get medical benefits.
“Folks, they (gay people) want free medical because they’re dying (when they’re) between 30 and 44 years old,” he said. “To me, it’s a moral issue. It’s a Biblical issue. Traditional marriage is where it should be and it’s in our platform. Those in our party who oppose traditional marriage are wrong,” said Agema.
Equality Michigan has called on Republican leadership to denounce Agema’s remarks and is seeking his removal as a committeemember of the Republican Party. The organization is also encouraging the healthcare community to correct Agema’s remarks, saying they perpetuate a harmful stigma about people living with HIV.
“It is unconscionable that in 2013 a political figure in a prominent position would feel so comfortable spewing lies about real people in a pathetic attempt to deny fundamental rights to families in Michigan,” said Emily Dievendorf, Managing Director of Equality Michigan.
Article continues below“The HIV crisis should not be used to scare and divide Michiganders when our only route to overcoming the crisis is to eliminate the stigma surrounding HIV by having more frequent and accurate conversations about public health,” she said.
Earlier this year, Agema came under fire from members of his own party after he posted an excerpt on Facebook from an article titled “Everyone Should Know These Statistics On Homosexuals.”
Among the claims in the article by Dr. Frank Joseph is that gay people “account for half the murders in large cities” and that “part of the homosexual agenda is to get the public to affirm their filthy lifestyle.”
The article, which cites studies from the 1980s for many of its claims, also attributes high medical insurance rates to caring for AIDS patients.