A gay Republican candidate was left shocked after a party official said she was “sickened” to learn that he had adopted children.
Jeffrey Sossa-Paquette, who is running for a seat in the Second Congressional District in Massachusetts, was horrified when he saw an email sent by fellow Republican Deborah Martell which suggested he shouldn’t be raising children.
Sossa-Paquette and his husband Julian are proud dads to Ashley, 19, and Rylan, 10.
Martell, who represents the district of Ludlow on the Republican State Committee, made the anti-gay remarks in an email sent to members of the Republican Party in Massachusetts on 15 May.
In the email – seen by The Boston Globe – Martell wrote: “I heard he was a ‘married’ homosexual man, who adopted children. I was sickened to hear this.”
Sossa-Paquette became aware of her comments days later and he decided to confront her by email, saying he planned to go to the media about what she had said.
Martell replied: “I am a Catholic who loves God and His Ten Commandments. I wish the best for every person in the world, including you!”
She continued: “What sickened me was that you adopted children… Children deserve a mom and a dad. That’s how God designed marriage and the family.”
Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker branded the comments ‘abhorrent’
Martell’s comments have led to condemnation from some Republicans in Massachusetts – however, others have opted to stay out of the controversy.
Governor Charlie Baker branded Martell’s comments “abhorrent” and said her views “have no place in public discourse and of course have no place in the leadership of a political party founded on protecting individual freedom”.
State representative Shawn Dooley called on Martell to resign over her comments, saying it is “not good enough” for Republicans to “sit on the sideline” and allow her words to go unchecked.
Speaking to NBC Boston, Sossa-Paquette slammed Massachusetts GOP chairman Jim Lyons, saying he went to him with Martell’s remarks but was not taken seriously.
Sossa-Paquette claimed Lyons told him he “wasn’t going to get involved” in the debacle, prompting disappointment from the candidate and from others in the party.
The gay man said he has faced bigotry throughout his life because of his sexuality and insisted that he won’t put up with it in the Republican Party.