Mayor Bill de Blasio said of Mr. Diaz, “Unless he apologizes, he should leave.”
Scott M. Stringer, the city comptroller, did not directly call for a resignation, but suggested that Mr. Díaz be stripped of the chairmanship of the Council’s For-Hire Vehicles Committee, a critical role given the recent discussion over the impact of ride-hail services. Mr. Stringer also endorsed Amanda Farias, the director of a nonprofit, who came in second to Mr. Diaz in the Democratic primary in 2017, and has announced that she will run for the seat again in 2021.
Other calls for his resignation, especially over social media, have spread quickly. David Kilmnick, president and chief executive of the New York LGBT Network, was among those demanding that Mr. Díaz step down.
Far from being a compliment, Mr. Díaz’s remarks, first reported by NY1, are a “way to trigger people’s biases and instill fear,” he said.
Robert Feldman, Mr. Díaz’s personal lawyer since the 1980s, said that his client is not homophobic.
“He’s a very religious Pentecostal minister. That’s his faith,” said Mr. Feldman, who is gay and married.
Mr. Feldman noted that Mr. Díaz has two brothers who are gay, and that he believes that Mr. Díaz is able to compartmentalize his faith and his personal interactions with gay people.
“He sees us as powerful and competent,” Mr. Feldman said.
In the interview at his district office, Mr. Díaz did refer to the power of the gay and lesbian community, but in a less complimentary way.
“The L.G.B.T. community demands that Reverend Díaz resigns!” he said. “Look at how they start demanding and everybody starts roaring. Even my friends are abandoning me. I wish I could have that power, but I don’t.”