Dave Agema, a former Michigan state representative, fears the legalization of gay marriage would result in increased hate crimes against opponents.

“If [gay marriage] were to pass nationwide, I fear what kids would be taught in school,” Agema told the Detroit News. “If it's a government-sanctioned lifestyle, hate crimes would begin for those speaking out against it, and we would lose our freedom of speech. Then they would come to churches and take tax-exempt status away from churches that didn't support the lifestyle. That's what happened in other countries.”

In March, Agema grabbed headlines after he posted on his Facebook page an article by Frank Joseph, M.D. asserting that gay people are promiscuous, responsible for the spread of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, and that “many homosexuals admit they are pedophiles.”

“[P]art of the homosexual agenda is to get the public to affirm their filthy lifestyle,” the article states.

The uproar included calls for Agema to step down from his post as a Michigan Republican National Committeeman.

Agema refused to back down, saying that his comments against homosexuality were “really more about caring.”

“[I]f you really love somebody that's in this lifestyle, you want to ask them and try to get them out because they're not going to live as long,” said Agema. “It's going to hurt them emotionally and physically.”

“That's what it's about. So It's really more about caring than it is hate,” he said.

(Related: 57 percent support gay marriage in Michigan.)