By Carl Campanile
May 17, 2017
Michael Blake | © Gabriella Bass
Following an outcry from gay rights activists, a top national Democratic Party official is requesting a refund of his $1,000 campaign contribution to a New York City Council candidate who opposed same-sex marriage.
Bronx Assemblyman Michael Blake, who is a vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee, made the donation to state Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr., who is running for an open Bronx Council seat.
The two represent overlapping districts in the south Bronx and have worked together on community and legislative issues.
But gay rights activists slammed Blake because they consider the socially conservative senator a bigot for opposing gay marriage.
Diaz, a pentecostal minister, voted against the marriage equality bill that was signed into law by Gov. Cuomo in 2011.
“This is a career-ender,” fumed Allen Roskoff, head of the Jim Oweles Liberal Democratic Club.
After hearing complaints, Blake issued an apology and said he asked Diaz for a refund.
“Despite his work in our overlapping districts and continual effort of uniting communities of color, Sen. Ruben Diaz, Sr. has made comments and taken stances against the LGBT community that I do not support. My contributions to his campaign is in no way an endorsement of his views on the LGBT community and should not be viewed as such,” Blake said.
“I am sorry for any offense caused by the contribution.”
For his part, Diaz told The Post he was disappointed and surprised when Blake called him Wednesday morning and asked for the refund made by his campaign committee, Friends of Michael Blake.
“I’m sorry he did that. We have been working together for years and my position is well known. I respect his position. My belief is as a minister,” Diaz said.
“People who know me know I work every with everyone — gay, straight, white, black. Everyone knows I will fight for my constituents.”
Diaz, whose son, Ruben Jr., is Bronx borough president, is running for a seat in the 18th district. The incumbent, Annabel Palma, is term limited.
Other candidates in the Democratic primary include Amanda Farias, Elvin Garcia, Michael Beltzer, Dwayne Gathers and John Perez.