After making several comments insinuating that New York’s City Council is controlled by homosexuals, Bronx city councilman Rev Ruben Diaz Sr. has both refused to apologize and now, refused to resign, despite pressure from numerous city groups.
“To all of you out there who are asking me to resign,” Rev. Diaz tweeted on Sunday. “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!!!!”
Among the groups calling for Diaz’s resignation include the New York City Council’s Progressive Caucus, which includes council members Jimmy Van Bramer, Ydanis Rodriguez, Carlos Menchaca, Jumaane Williams and more than 15 others. Both the City Council’s LGBTQ Caucus and Women Caucus have also called for his resignation.
“The recent comments from Council Member Rev. Ruben Diaz, Sr. were a malicious and repulsive attack on the LGBTQ community,” the caucus’ statement reads. “In solidarity and support of the LGBT Caucus, Speaker Johnson and the greater LGBTQ community, we call on Council Member Diaz to resign his position effective immediately.”
Council Member Rodriguez previously endorsed Ruben Diaz Sr. in his campaign for his seat in 2017, something that queer advocacy groups opposed at the time, calling Diaz “the city’s most notorious homophobe.”
Rev. Ruben Diaz claimed over the weekend that he did not intend his remarks to be offensive, commenting, “I am giving them credit. They are in control, they have power, influence.”
Diaz currently serves as Chairperson for the Committee on For-Hire Vehicles, a position that Speaker Corey Johnson, who is openly gay, appointed him to. According to the Gotham Gazette, Diaz is not the only City Council member in a leadership position on a committee–Council Member Fernando Cabrera serves as chairperson on the Committee on Governmental Operations, and espoused anti-marriage equality opinions as recently as 2014.
Queens Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, who refused to support Diaz’s original run for his Council seat in 2017, has announced a demonstration outside City Hall on Tuesday to call for the Reverend’s resignation. Additionally, Speaker Johnson reported that he is looking into taking disciplinary action for Diaz’s comments.
“Nothing is off the table,” he said.