Republican National Committee member Dave Agema's claim that a Michigan newspaper manipulated his anti-gay speech at a GOP Christmas party fizzled Wednesday when the paper released a recording of the event.
Agema, a Michigan member of the RNC, stood by remarks attributed to him at the Republican event last week, chastising a Herald-Palladium reporter for "twisting my speech far out of context."
Below, a transcript of the remarks, in which Agema denounces gay marriage, and suggests that his former gay colleagues at American Airlines took advantage of their health care coverage:
I stand for traditional marriage, not homosexual ones. The family unit is the basic unit in society. When you tear the family apart, you tear the country apart.
I worked with these individuals for almost 30 years at American. I know what they do. I know [inaudible] American Airlines with San Francisco said, "We could not land in San Francisco and do business with American Airlines unless we paid same-sex unmarried benefits."
I'm a flight attendant, you have AIDS, you come to me and say, "Tell them I'm your lover for the last six months." You get on the health care. American Airlines spends $400,000 before you die of AIDS. And he goes on to the next, and the next, and that's what was happening.
Folks, they want free medical because they're dying between 38 and 44 years old ... 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 to me that issue within our party are wrong.
In an email to supporters after the newspaper's original article, Agema called out Herald-Palladium reporter Louise Wrege.
"A journalist was in the audience and wrote a news article that twisted my speech far out of context," Agema said in the email.
In her original report, Wrege wrote that Agema "said American Airlines workers would say a person with AIDS was their lover so that person could get medical benefits," and directly quoted his remarks in opposition of gay marriage.
The Herald-Palladium did admit to one "distortion" in the original story. Wrege reported Agema said gay individuals are dying between the ages of 30 and 44, when he actually said they're dying between ages 38 and 44.
Listen to the full audio of Agema's remarks here.