On Sunday, Michigan newspaper Midland Daily News announced that it had promoted reporter Tony Lascari to the position of news editor. In an article detailing the promotion, Lascari was praised for his news judgment, his organization skills, and lengthy experience. In an attempt to inject some color, the piece concluded with some small details of Lascari's passions, which include nature and his family.
"I enjoy spending time with my nieces and my nephew, I'm an occasional runner and I love spending time in Midland's parks," Lascari said. "I live in Midland with my husband, Mark."
The revelation that the Midland Daily News had appointed an out gay man to the position of news editor prompted Michigan State Representative Gary Glenn to issue an "agenda alert" on Facebook and Twitter.
"Agenda Alert -- Midland Daily News' new news editor: political science major who "lives in Midland with (his) husband,'" the Republican wrote.
Glenn did not respond to requests for comment from BuzzFeed News, but told MLive.com that he believed the community needed to be aware of Lascari's sexuality so they could judge the paper for its reporting and question if its staff "represent our community's values."
"I posted the paper's own report -- without comment or criticism -- except to alert readers to the reasonably observed possibility that the new position might be used to promote a political agenda or bias that's at odds with our community's values," he said.
Glenn serves as the president for the Michigan chapter of the American Family Association, a conservative group which warns of the "homosexual agenda."
On Wednesday, Republican Speaker Kevin Cotter spoke with M.Live.com and said he "trusted" local reporters to serve the community.
"As someone who works often with the press, I know this community is best-served when the media is hard-working, honest, and fair to everyone they cover," Cotter said.
"I trust the members of our local press to serve the people of this community the best they can on every issue, no matter who they are."
In a column Tuesday for the Midland Daily News, Lascari described his marriage as a "non-issue."
"As a professional news reporter, I have always worked to keep my articles balanced and accurate as I report on people in our community, no matter their views," Lascari wrote. "I respect people's right to hold their beliefs and to share them as they see fit. If Glenn wants to post alerts about me, that's fine."
"But, I don't see why having a political science major and a husband are an issue. No one else in Midland has ever brought up my marriage as a concern to me."
"My reporting track record speaks for itself," he wrote.
Lascari told BuzzFeed News on Saturday that Glenn had not made contact with him since he made the original comments.