Four young men have been charged in connection with a homophobic attack on Long Island, New York.

The incident happened during the early hours of Sunday morning.

Police say the four male suspects, aged 20, 18, 18 and 17, were walking by the two male victims on Deer Park Avenue and paused to ask for train directions.

They then allegedly began punching, kicking and shoving the victims while shouting homophobic abuse.

Both victims were taken to hospital – one of them suffered serious injuries.

Representing one of the victims, who suffered a broken nose, attorney Anthony Ciaccio said the man was “viciously attacked for no reason.”

“To quote a really bad Seinfeld episode, ‘My client’s not gay, not that there’s anything wrong with that,’ ” Mr Ciaccio stated. “The law doesn’t require someone to be in a protected class for a suspect to be charged with a hate crime.”

All four suspects were charged with two counts of third-degree assault as a hate crime. The three older suspects also were charged with second-degree gang assault.

David Kilmnick, chief executive of the Long Island GLBT Services Network, described the incident as “disturbing and frightening.”