Several Michigan Republicans have thrown their support behind Republican National Committeeman Dave Agema, a former Michigan lawmaker who came under fire last week after sharing a controversial anti-gay article condemning the “filthy” lifestyle of “homosexuals” on his personal Facebook page.
According to Michigan Live, state Reps. Ken Yonker (R-Caledonia), Thomas Hooker (R-Byron Center) and Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) have signed a petition calling on fellow Republicans to “support [Agema’s] efforts to stand up for conservative values.”
Yonker, who served with Agema for two years in the state legislature, used the petition to thank Agema for “bringing forward the negative struggles the gay life style [sic] brings.” Yonker also provided a link to the site Facts About Youth, which states that “any sexual activity outside a monogamous, heterosexual, married relationship is unhealthy and ill-advised.”
Hooker, who also served with Agema in the state legislature, wrote on the petition that he supports “the Biblical definition of marriage between a man and a woman.”
“What God calls wrong is wrong,” Hooker argued.
The petition -- which Agema created -- has collected nearly 1,000 signatures, although some appear to be satirical. Other Michigan politicians who have signed the petition include former state Reps. Kurt Damrow, Fulton Sheen and Jack Hoogendyk, who launched an unsuccessful primary challenge against U.S. Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) in 2012.
Agema, whose comments about the gay and lesbian community have sparked outrage among members of his own party, has refused to step down from his position within the Republican National Committee, telling supporters that calls for his resignation are “a joke.”
“I will stand strong in my resolve in support of the family, and uncompromising in my belief that marriage should be between one man and one woman,” Agema’s petition states. “I will not waver in my opposition to gay marriage, regardless of who calls for my resignation or chooses to engage in this fight.”
On Wednesday, former Michigan state Rep. Jerry Vorva (R-Plymouth Township) weighed in on the controversy, urging Agema to “immediately resign.”
Vorva, who describes himself as “the proud father of a very conservative son ... who just happens to be gay,” said that the real issue is not whether same-sex marriage is a threat to conservative values, but rather “Agema’s vitriol.”
“The real issue is Agema, as a leader of my Republican party, using his position to spread outright bigotry,” Vorva wrote in an op-ed on Michigan Live. “His vile, vicious and highly offensive statements have no place in the debate on social issues.”
“Agema’s hate must be condemned. There can be no room in the Republican tent for him,” Vorva added.
Last week, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus did not directly condemn Agema’s actions, instead telling Time Magazine that “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.”