By Trudy Ring
Originally published on Advocate.com January 13 2014 3:20 PM ET
Dave Agema, a Michigan politician who serves on the Republican National Committee, has taken yet another anti-LGBT action, posting a Facebook comment that calls Russia’s “gay propaganda” law “common sense.”
Agema, noted for numerous antigay remarks, posted the comment last week with a link to an article about the law on the Illinois Family Institute’s website, reports the Washington Blade. Agema’s posts are accessible only to his Facebook friends, but sources told the Blade he put up the article and comment last Tuesday and that it was still online over the weekend, and they provided the paper with a screen shot.
“Read their law. Common sense in Russia,” Agema wrote when linking to the right-wing group’s article, which asserts that “mainstream press” coverage of the law usually fails to “include any details of the text of the law and its inoffensive — some would argue wholly appropriate — content.”
The law, which Russia adopted last summer, prohibits any "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations" in venues accessible to minors — amounting to a ban on any public support for LGBT rights and arguably such identities themselves. The law claims that this so-called propaganda “could harm the health and moral and spiritual development, as well as form misperceptions about the social equivalence of conventional and unconventional sexual relationships” among young people. Illinois Family Institute cultural analyst Laurie Higgins concludes that “prohibiting the distribution of homosexuality-affirming resources to minors is both reasonable and wise.”
Some of Agema’s fellow Republicans objected to this posting, which follows other antigay statements — last year he used his Facebook page to share an article that claimed to be scientific but offered much inaccurate information attacking LGBT people, sponsored a resolution reaffirming the party’s opposition to marriage equality, and told a Republican gathering in Michigan that gay people supported health care reform because so many are dying of AIDS complications at an early age, also asserting that some had falsely posed as domestic partners to get benefits from employer-provided health insurance.
“This is outrageous that a leader of the national Republican Party, my political party, is siding with an autocratic regime that believes in arresting political opponents, censoring reporters, jailing dissidents, and eliminating free speech,” Michigan Republican activist Dennis Lennox told the Blade regarding Agema’s latest post. “Russia and the Putin regime — other than maybe Iran, North Korea, and China — is the last regime the Republican Party or one of its leaders should associate itself with.”
Lennox said he hopes the matter comes up at the RNC’s winter meeting, scheduled for January 23-25 in Washington, D.C. “Frankly, I can’t believe that the Republican Party would want one of its national leaders siding with Vladimir Putin,” he said.
Gay Republican activist and former GOProud executive director Jimmy LaSalvia said the RNC needs to condemn Agema’s views. “Every time Agema or someone said something like this — not as bad as this — they’ve always said, ‘We need to treat everyone with dignity and respect on issues like that, he doesn’t speak for the RNC, etc.,’” LaSalvia told the Blade. “They’ve never denounced what he said and said he’s wrong, and that’s what they need to do, but nobody over there seems to have the guts to denounce him.”
Agema had not responded to the Blade’s requests for comment by the time the article was published.