A New York City council member from the Bronx is being asked to resign after claiming the city’s government is “controlled by the homosexual community.”
Council Member Rubén Díaz Sr., 75, made the problematic comment last week during an interview on the Spanish-language radio show El Deshaogo, reports amNewYork.
Díaz (pictured above), a socially conservative Democrat who’s voiced his opposition to marriage equality and reproductive justice in the past, refuses to apologize for the remark. He’s even doubled down on his opinion, telling The New York Post that LGBTQ lawmakers in New York control politics at the state level, too.
To all of you out there who are asking me to resign. Sorry to disappoint you but You should Know that the only ones that can ask me to resign are the residents of the 18th C. D. and that will be on Nov. 2021. That’s why we have election!!!!
— Rev Ruben Diaz (@revrubendiaz) February 11, 2019
Council Speaker Corey Johnson, who’s openly gay and a vocal advocate for the queer community, called for Díaz to resign on Monday, February 11. Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters the next day that he agreed, and Díaz should step down if he refuses to issue an apology.
“He has to apologize,” de Blasio added. “That is the only chance to continue to serve as a public servant.”
When leaders use their power and authority to spew homophobia and hatred, they incite violence against LGBTQ people. That is why this is such a big deal & why Council Member Ruben Diaz Sr. must resign. pic.twitter.com/9jxSzjz49a
— Jimmy Van Bramer (@JimmyVanBramer) February 12, 2019
Other council members held a rally on Tuesday, February 12, to protest Díaz’s homophobic comments. In a statement, Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, who represents part of Queens and spearheaded the rally, condemned Díaz’s actions—and demanded that he resign:
I do not want an apology. We are past time for apologies. Words have consequences. And Council Member Díaz’s words happen to be part of a long history of homophobia and disgusting attacks on the LGBTQ community… Our community has been fighting for a seat at the table for generations. Now that we have rightfully claimed our seats at the table, it is time to close the door on bigotry and hate once and for all.
.@JimmyVanBramer has some powerful words to confront CM Ruben Diaz Sr. for his homophobic remarks: “Words have consequences. Somewhere in the Bronx, there is a teenager who is struggling. These comments cannot become internalized by them.” https://t.co/pxwwPcyTcE
— NOW-NYC (@NOW_NYC) February 12, 2019
Other out New Yorkers, including former gubernatorial candidate and Sex and the City star Cynthia Nixon, followed suit.
— Cynthia Nixon (@CynthiaNixon) February 12, 2019
GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis chimed in on Twitter, also backing the call for Díaz’s resignation.
Meanwhile, Díaz went on to tell The Post that he “[couldn’t] be homophobic” because “I voted for him, for Corey Johnson, to be speaker [of the Council].”
Yikes… Who wants to tell him that that’s not how it works?