Rhode Island state Representative Dan Gordon has defended his comments against the formation of a gay-straight alliance for Tiverton High School students.

The Republican said he objected to what he called “sexual meet-up groups” where students get “sexed-up” in the comments section of an online story about the group's formation.

He defended his posts during a Thursday morning interview on AM radio station 630 WPRO, the PortsmouthPatch.com reported.

“Anything of a sexual nature should not be taking place at a taxpayer-funded facility,” Gordon said. “The purpose of a school is to get an education.”

Gordon repeatedly denied he's homophobic. “I'm not anti-gay. I have a gay cousin who I enjoy spending time with.” And he later added: “I have gay friends. I have gay family. I'm a United States Marines service veteran … There were gay individuals that we served with.”

When numerous callers pointed out that one of the purposes of the group was to offer gay students a safe haven from bullying, Gordon responded: “Perhaps if they weren't flaunting their sexuality or advertising it, there might be less of that bullying.”

Rhode Island Democratic Party Chairman Ed Pacheco called in to support the group.

“The purpose of this group is the promotion of diversity, tolerance and education,” said Pacheco, who called Gordon's comments “appalling.”

“I just want to clear up some of the hyperbole that's being thrown about by the liberal agenda,” Gordon said after nearly two hours of debate. “Their comments border on lunacy, or they have a reading comprehension problem … I am not anti-gay … I think most taxpayers would agree, especially in my region, that they wouldn't want their tax dollars used to support a group that is sexually centered.”