Prominent LGBT community leaders will be joined Tuesday in Ferndale by Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Democratic candidates for state and national office at a rally holding Republican National Committee member Dave Agema accountable for public comments he made that offended many LGBT Michiganders.
The LGBT Community Forum from 3-4 p.m. Tuesday at Affirmations, 290 W. 9 Mile Road, comes just days after the Michigan Republican Party State Committee failed to take any action to hold Agema accountable for his statements, according to a news release.
Agema said at a recent holiday party that he wants to protect “traditional marriage” from gay couples who he said abuse the system to get health-care benefits to cover AIDS. Agema, a former state legislator, claimed that when he worked at American Airlines, he said he saw firsthand what happens when domestic partner benefits are extended.
“Folks, they (gay people) want free medical because they’re dying (when they’re) between 30 and 44 years old,” he reportedly 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.”
Others speaking at the forum include U.S. Congressman and Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Gary Peters; former U.S. Congressman and Democratic candidate for Michigan governor Mark Schauer; MDP LGBT & Allies Caucus Vice Chair Jan Stevenson; Ferndale Mayor Dave Coulter; and Equality Michigan Managing Director Emily Dievendorf.
The forum is intended to be an open discussion on Democratic efforts to engage LGBT community members and advance issues such as non-discrimination and marriage equality in 2014.
“We cannot afford to let intolerance and divisiveness stand, and we cannot allow bigotry to be accepted by either party,” the Michigan Democratic Party said in a news release. “Michiganders know that our diversity is one of our greatest assets, and our state deserves elected leaders who will fight for all of us.”