AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine Republican Party Chairman Charlie Webster is defending campaign ads that mention a gay rights group’s funding of Democratic candidates and the campaign for same-day voter registration.

Webster said Tuesday the ads are factual and meant to highlight the difference between his party’s constituency and that of the Democrats.

The ads, which appeared in weekly newspapers and as inserts, said the EqualityMaine group, which supports gay rights and same-sex marriage, donated $5,000 and helped in the petition drive in support of the voter registration referendum.

State Democratic Party Chairman Ben Grant and Betsy Smith of EqualityMaine both called the ads “homophobic,” and the political activist group Maine’s Majority called them “shameless and disgusting.” Andrew Ian Dodge, a tea partier and GOP Senate hopeful, called for Webster to resign. Webster says he will not.