Anthony Weiner, a Democratic candidate in the race to become New York City's next mayor, has come under fire from politicians and at least one advocacy group for condoning homophobic statements aimed at fellow Democratic candidate (and the race's current front-runner) Christine Quinn.
"It's unfortunate that we need to issue a public statement on this at all, but this is becoming a disturbing pattern," said Nathan Schaefer, executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda, a gay rights advocacy group.
The pattern Schaefer describes is two-fold: According to the group, the first instance of Weiner's silence in the face of homophobic remarks occurred a few weeks ago at a forum in Brooklyn. "Anti-LGBT slurs filled the room" as Weiner stood in silence, the group said. The second instance was detailed in a story published today by The Washington Post.
Weiner was collecting signatures for his election petition when he came across a voter who referred to Quinn by using a gay slur. After he saw a reporter's surprised reaction, he told the woman that she "shouldn't talk that way about people," the newspaper reported. The woman apologized and Weiner said: "It's okay. It's not your fault."
Schaefer criticized Weiner for sending the message that homophobia is acceptable.
"You're asking New Yorkers for your vote, and we hope that we will see leadership on this issue in the future, as well as an apology now," he said.
Assemblywoman Deborah Glick and State Senator Brad Hoylman -- known supporters of Quinn -- issued a statement, calling Weiner's silence an "unacceptable response to a propsective voter's himiphobic, misogynistic slur in reference to Christine Quinn," according to The New York Observer.
Weiner issued a statement late Thursday saying: "I admonished the woman amid a large crowd on a street corner and by no means believe that anything about her comment was appropriate." He further noted that he has supported gay marriage since 1998.
Mike Morey, a spokesman for Quinn, declined to comment.