Dominican presidential candidate disparages LGBT people during appearances in New York

Dominican LGBT advocates and allies in the United States are calling on Hipolito Mejia, former president and pre-candidate for their home country's presidency to apologize for disparaging anti-gay comments he made during a trip to New York.

Andres Duque called out the politician on his popular blog, Blabbeando, sharing the video that documents Mejia's stance against same-sex marriage and during which he cites Biblical ideas about procreation to discount and denigrate LGBT families.

"[New York State Senator] Ruben Diaz asked me last time my opinion regarding gays and marriage (between them) and I told him I didn't agree, and in a society like this one, where to say that is like saying a bad word, they tell me don't talk about that topic, but I do talk about it and with total liberty I say what I believe: be fruitful and multiply."

Then in another appearance for his Partido Revolucionario Moderno he continued mocking gay people as he discussed how he is running his campaign.

"There are even people who want me to put on a wig, because they want to change everything about a person, even the way they sit. Maybe others even want me to sit like a f*ggot," he joked.

It is common for candidates to visit the country's largest diaspora communities to raise funds and New York area LGBT and allied people have reacted to his words. The President of the New York City Council, outspoken Puerto Rican and LGBT ally Melissa Mark-Viverito released a statement in response after hearing these comments calling out Mejia, his party and the New York area politicians in attendance who seemed to go along with his rhetoric.

"I'm horrified that a former president of the Dominican Republic and potential future presidential candidate has used such disparaging, offensive, inappropriate and hurtful language towards LGTB people. President Mejia should apologize to the LGTB community both here and in New York, where he made his unacceptable comments. Leaders have a calling to unify the people, not to divide them. That includes those who he invited to hear his comments who stayed silent or worse yet laughed at what he said. I stand with the LGTB community here, in the Dominican Republic and other places and I will not be silent when I'm confronted with the ugly face of fanaticism, " Mark-Viverito's statement said.

GLAAD has worked closely with Dominican advocates, and visited the Dominican Republic, where the LGBT community has organized to work for equal treatment and an end to discrimination. LGBT and allied people inside and outside of the Dominican Republic can follow Mark-Viverito's example calling for an apology from Mejia and his party: @hipolito_mejia and @el_PRM.