New York city councilman won’t apologize for saying chamber is controlled by ‘homosexual community’

A city lawmaker in New York is refusing to apologize for saying that the city government is “controlled by the homosexual community.”

Bronx city council member Ruben Diaz Sr., described as a conservative Democrat, made the comment while speaking on the Spanish-language radio program, “El Desahogo," last week, according to The New York Daily News

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City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, who is gay, and others called for Diaz to apologize over the comment.

“The disgraceful and homophobic comments made by Ruben Diaz Sr. don’t reflect this city’s values,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) tweeted on Saturday. “The council member owes an apology to @NYCSpeakerCoJo and 8.6 million New Yorkers.”

But Diaz has declined to do so, tweeting, "what’s homophobic about saying that the gay community controls the [New York City] city council?"

"I’m giving them credit for the power and influence they have," he added. 

He reiterated his argument to The Daily News, saying that what he said was "not homophobic."

"It’s the truth," he said. 

Diaz, who has represented the 18th Council District in the New York City Council since January 2018, said last week in the interview on “El Desahogo" that he's felt unwelcome in the chamber because of his more conservative policy views. 

He told The Daily News on Saturday that he now fears he could be removed from his high-ranking position on the Committee on For-Hire Vehicles. 

“This proves my point,” Diaz reportedly said. “I’m worried about them taking away the committee. If they put pressure on Johnson to take it away, he might do it.”

He added that the backlash to his comment only supported his argument that the chamber was controlled by the "homosexual community."

“You see the list of elected officials that are calling on me to apologize. That shows how much power they have,” he told the Daily News. “I’m the victim here.”

Diaz has consistently provoked outrage from fellow Democrats in the city council due to his opposition to things such as access to abortion and gay marriage, The Daily News noted. 

As a member of the New York state Senate, he was only Democrat to vote against the legislature's marriage equality bill in 2011.