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Juan Reyes, New York State Senate Candidate, Apologizes For Anti-Gay Mailing Against Opponent

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NYC Councilman Eric Ulrich
NYC Councilman Eric Ulrich

A New York Senate candidate behind a controversial mailing which lamblasted his opponent for having gay friends and hiring gay staffers is apologizing for his actions.

Officials for Juan Reyes, an Republican opponent to New York City Councilman Eric Ulrich in the Senate primary race, say the mailer -- which reportedly called Ulrich a "gay-friendly, cosmopolitan Republican who mocked religious Americans" -- was "rushed," and implied Reyes didn't have time to "scrutinize" it properly.

Officials for Reyes noted on his official website:

"Clearly, what our campaign intended to say in one of our final mailings was not what people heard, and for that the Reyes campaign is deeply sorry. The campaign’s only goal for that mailing to expose the hypocrisy of flip-flopping, but in the final days of the campaign we rushed a piece to press and should have given our candidate time to scrutinize it."

Noting that Reyes -- who served as an aide to former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani -- "personally apologizes" for mailing, officials added:

"As an attorney and concerned citizen, Juan believes strongly that everyone should have the opportunity to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and that everyone should have the opportunity to exercise their own free will in determining what that happiness is, and how they live their lives in achieving it...

Whatever disagreements we may have over specific legislation, Juan believes strongly that what unites Americans as a people is our willingness and desire to live in a country where different people of many backgrounds can exist together in peace and harmony. It’s what makes us Americans."

You can read the full statement here.

Reyes' apology comes on the heels of a similar controversy involving another anti-gay-themed attack on Mark Grisanti, which accused the New York state senator of exchanging his vote in favor of gay marriage for monetary gain. Perpetuated by Matt Ricchiazi, that ad included photos of two reported gay porn stars in a steamy, barechested embrace.

Grisanti, a Republican, had previously opposed marriage equality, switched his vote at the last-minute to join three fellow Republicans in securing legalization's passage last year. "I cannot deny a person, a human being, a taxpayer, a worker, the people of my district and across this state, the State of New York, and those people who make this the great state that it is the same rights that I have with my wife," the Buffalo-area politician said at the time.

CORRECTION: The original version of this story linked Reyes' apology to Grisanti's case rather than NYC Councilman Eric Ulrich. They are, in fact, two separate cases.

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