LANSING, Mich., Dec. 11 (UPI) -- The Republican governor of Michigan has condemned comments by a GOP party official that gay people want free healthcare because they are dying from AIDS.
A spokeswoman for Gov. Rick Snyder said he thought the remarks were "extreme and discriminatory," the Detroit Free Press reported Wednesday.
"We shouldn't tolerate discrimination of any kind," spokeswoman Sara Wurfel said. "We must make sure everyone is treated with respect and civility."
Republican National Committeeman Dave Agema created the controversy during a speech Thursday at a party meeting in Berrien County.
"Folks, [homosexuals] want free medical because they're dying between 38 and 44 years old," Agema told the gathering. "It's a biggie. So, to me it's a moral issue. It's a biblical issue. Traditional marriage is where it should be and that is in our platform, so people that are opposed on that issue within our party are wrong."
In an email Tuesday night, Agema said a journalist "twisted my speech far out of context."
"I stand by my words as I said them despite efforts by others to twist the meaning of those words," he added.
Last March, he "liked" an article posted on Facebook that said gay people were sexually promiscuous and were responsible for "half the murders in large cities."
Petitions have been posted online both supporting Agema and calling for him to resign. Because he was elected at a party convention, the state committee cannot remove him.