One of Michigan's representatives to the Republican National Committee, already under fire for controversial comments about homosexuals, said last week gays and lesbians want free health care to pay for AIDS treatment. In a speech at the Berrien County Republican Party's annual holiday reception, former state Rep. Dave Agema said he had seen gay co-workers at American Airlines claim someone with AIDS was their spouse so that person could receive medical benefits. "Folks, they (gay people) want free medical because they're dying (when they're) between 30 and 44 years old," Agema said, according to the Herald-Palladium newspaper of Benton Harbor, Mich. "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."
Shortly after the 2012 elections, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus suggested, as part of a larger rebranding campaign, his party should be open to LGBT voters. So much for that idea.
For those unfamiliar with Agema, Steve M. did a nice job documenting some of the RNC member's greatest hits, including Agema's bizarre remarks against unions, against Muslims, and in support of torture. But the Republican seems especially fond of gay bashing, having accused gays of living a "filthy lifestyle."
To his credit, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) called Agema's remarks "extreme and discriminatory" in a statement, though as best as I can tell, the governor has not called for Agema's ouster.
The Washington Post's Reid Wilson added a little ironic flare: "Agema made the comments during a speech in which he urged Republicans to reach out to both independents and tea partiers."
Update: The audio of Agema's comments are available online.