A Shrewsbury Republican says he was shocked to learn last month that a member of Massachusetts' Republican State Committee had been circulating an email criticizing his lifestyle and candidacy.
“As a proper Republican, I must stand up and do my part to say this is unacceptable,” said Jeffrey Sossa-Paquette, a candidate for the 2nd Congressional District.
Emails first obtained by The Boston Globe appear to show that Debbie Martell, from Ludlow, emailed Republican colleagues and groups saying she is "sickened" by the fact that a same-sex couple has adopted children.
“What she was seeking was to find anybody, using her words, ‘God willing, that will primary him. After all, I hear he’s a married homosexual man. That sickens me that he adopted his children,’” Sossa-Paquette said.
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Sossa-Paquette and his husband, Julian, have adopted two children: 19-old-year-old Ashley and 10-year-old Rylan. He said he’d like to ask Martelle “how many times she has adopted. How many times did she raise her hands to take a heroin-addicted child and bring them through so that they’re thriving 10 years later.”
Sossa-Paquette said that, when Martell did not stop sending emails, he reached out to Massachusetts GOP Chairman Jim Lyons to condemn her remarks. After many attempts, Sossa-Paquette said, “His answer to me was he wasn’t going to get involved in inter-party politics. And I said inter-party politics? You’re the chairman of the MassGOP. Are you not supposed to be running the party?”
Martell did not respond to a request for an interview, while a spokesman for Lyons said he was not interested in talking about this story.
Former MassGOP Chair Gene Hartigan said Lyons "should’ve shown some courage" in defending Sossa-Paquette.
He said it’s OK not to agree with someone else’s life choices, not to try to bring them down: “Just because someone is gay or lesbian doesn’t mean they’re unfit to be a parent.”
Sossa-Paquette said he has gotten many emails of support from other members of the Republican State Committee and he will continue to call for Martell to resign.
Gov. Charlie Baker, also a Republican, is among the members of the party rejecting Martell's language, according to the Globe.
Her comments "are abhorrent and have no place in public discourse and of course have no place in the leadership of a political party founded on protecting individual freedom," Baker told the newspaper in a statement.