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NY City Council speaker wants apology for homophobic remarks

February 10, 2019
FILE- In this June 24, 2011 file photo, Sen. Ruben Diaz, Sr. , D-Soundview, speaks during a session of the New York state Senate at the Capitol in Albany, N.Y. Diaz, who is currently a New York City Council member, said on a Spanish language radio program that the homosexual community controls most of the 51 council members. Diaz's comment prompted the openly gay Speaker of the city council to demand that the Bronx Democrat apologize to his colleagues and the LGBTQ community. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — The New York City Council speaker is demanding an apology from a council member who said the legislative body is “controlled by the homosexual community.”

A spokesman for Speaker Corey Johnson issued a statement Friday saying comments by Ruben Diaz Sr. “have no place in New York City” and the Bronx Democrat should apologize to his colleagues and the LGBTQ community.

In a Spanish-language radio program, Diaz, who is a Pentecostal minister, said the homosexual community controls most of the 51 council members. The 75-year-old, Puerto Rican-born politician, who opposes same-sex marriage, called Johnson a “homosexual married to another man.” The speaker is openly gay and single.

Diaz is the father of Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

The younger Diaz took to social media Saturday night advocating for unity and calling his father’s statement “unnecessary.”

“NYC is a place where we celebrate our diversity and inclusivity,” Diaz Jr. wrote on Twitter. “The LGBTQ community is unequivocally an essential voice in our City. @revrubendiaz’s sentiments are antagonistic, quarrelsome and wholly unnecessary. He should apologize.”

Johnson and Diaz Sr. did not immediately respond to messages left on Saturday.

The councilman did later tweet that he “misspoke” by referring to Johnson as being married. “He still single,” Diaz Sr. wrote.

He also tweeted a question on Saturday: “What’s homophobic about saying that the gay community controls the nyc city council? (sic) I’m giving them credit for the power and influence they have.”

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