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NYC lawmaker says city council 'controlled by the homosexual community'

The remarks by council member Ruben Diaz Sr. quickly drew outrage, including a call for an apology by the openly gay NYC Council speaker, Corey Johnson.
Image: Sen. Ruben Diaz, Sr., D-Bronx, speaks at the state Capitol in Albany on Feb. 6, 2017.
Ruben Diaz Sr., then a state senator from the Bronx, at the state Capitol in Albany in 2017.Hans Pennink / AP file

NEW YORK — The speaker of the New York City Council 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.

Image: Speaker of the New York City Council Corey Johnson during a Council Finance Committee hearing ti at New York City Hall
Corey Johnson, speaker of the New York City Council, during a hearing at New York City Hall on Jan. 30, 2019.Drew Angerer / Getty Images file

In a Spanish-language radio program, Diaz, who is a Pentecostal minister, said the homosexual community controls most of the 51 council members. Diaz, 75, a 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.

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