A New York City mayoral candidate says he’s received death threats because of an endorsement from America’s leading anti-equal marriage group.

Erick Salgado is considered a long-shot candidate, especially since he’s up against fellow popular Democrat Christine Quinn, the city’s lesbian city council speaker.

But he says emails from three different people both criticised and threatened him for accepting the National Organisation for Marriage’s backing.

Mr Salgado told a local paper that one email said he was a rat and deserved to die.

The socially-conservative minister says the threats now make him nervous over the safety of his children.

“It makes me nervous, because of my children, I get nervous,” he said to Politicker.

Mr Salgado is the only Democratic candidate opposed to marriage equality.

Michael Bloomberg, New York City’s current mayor and a strong supporter of marriage rights for same-sex couples leaves office in 2014.

City Council speaker Christine Quinn, formally announced that she will run for the position of NYC mayor in March. 

If elected to the post, Ms Quinn would not only be the first openly gay mayor of New York City, but also the first female.