A gay rights group in New York is telling gays and lesbians to oppose Senator Hilary Clinton’s re-election because of her position on same sex marriage

Alan Van Capelle, executive director of the group, the Empire State Pride Agenda, said Mrs Clinton was “a complete disappointment” over her opposition to same-sex marriage and her support for a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.

In a memo to board members he said that he refused to “lend my name and sell tickets” to any fund-raiser sponsored by a gay group for Mrs Clinton’s re-election campaign. He said supporting such fund-raisers for Mrs Clinton would “actually hurt” the gay and lesbian community.

The memo which appeared on the New York Observer website said: “It will send a message to other elected officials that you can be working against us during this critical time and not suffer a negative pushback from the gay community.”

“We have become a community that throws money at politicians, and we demand nothing in return. And that’s what we get: nothing. It’s the wrong message to send.”

Mrs Clinton’s advisers said her support within the gay community runs deep, noting that a fund-raising event planned for next month will have prominent gay politicians and activists as hosts.

State Senator Thomas K. Duane, a Manhattan Democrat who is gay, voiced his support for Mrs Clinton. He called her a strong advocate for the gay and lesbian issues, noting that she has helped secure federal funding for critically important programs, including AIDS treatment.

“Would we like her to be 100 percent on the marriage issue? Yes,” he said. “But it’s important for us to continue educating her on the issue.”

Mrs Clinton is known to support civil unions in the gay community but opposes gay marriage.