A senior Democratic official has apologised for a donation to an anti-LGBT politician who once claimed accepting gay people would spread AIDS.
Michael Blake, vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee, had come under scrutiny after a $1000 campaign donation to conservative New York State Senator Rubén Díaz Sr.
A militant opponent of LGBT rights, Díaz Sr. led multiple rallies against equal marriage in the city, despite his own granddaughter being a lesbian.
Díaz Sr. was once forced to resign from a post after suggesting that the Gay Games sporting event would result in the spread of AIDS by encouraging homosexuality. He also filed legal action in a bid to block the Harvey Milk High School, which caters for ostracised LGBT youth, claiming that it discriminates against straight kids.
Michael Blake, who was endorsed by a string of LGBT rights groups during his DNC Vice Chair campaign, said he did not agree with the state senator’s record.
In a statement, the Democratic official and New York Assemblyman explained that he would ask for his money back after initially making a $1000 contribution to Díaz’s election fund.
He said: “Despite his work in our overlapping districts and continued effort of uniting communities of colour, Senator Ruben Díaz Sr. has made comments and taken stances against the LGBTQ community that I do not support.
“My contribution to his campaign is in no way an endorsement of his views on the LGBTQ community and should not be viewed as such. I am sorry for any offence caused by the contribution.
“It is my sincere hope that my record identifies me as an ally of the LGBTQ community; from my policy positions, public and private comments and selection for my staff members and advisors.
He added: “I hear and respect the concerns that LGBTQ activists and allies have raised to to my campaign donation.
“In order to unite us, which is critically necessary given our current national political environment, I have asked Senator Diaz to refund the entirety of the contribution so that we can continue positively to advance the causes of equality and justice for every New Yorker and move forward in a positive and collaborative way.”