North Carolina State Representative Larry Brown is being criticized for using the term “fruitloops” to describe gay lawmakers.

The remarks come after House Speaker Joe Hackney, a Democrat, received an award from the gay rights group Equality North Carolina for his work in the General Assembly. The group says Hackney has played a pivotal role in blocking efforts to put a gay marriage ban in the state's constitution.

In a response to an email from House Minority Leader Paul Stam announcing the honor, Brown wrote: “I hope all the queers are thrilled to see him. I am sure there will be a couple [of] legislative fruitloops there in the audience.” Stam and Brown are Republicans.

The message, sent on September 27, went out to roughly 60 other lawmakers.

Ian Palmquist, executive director of Equality North Carolina, demanded Brown apologize for the remark, local CBS affiliate WRAL reported.

“I think it is shocking that a legislator would use that kind of language,” he said.

“We are calling on Rep. Brown to apologize to his constituents for using anti-gay slurs. He has not responded yet. I hope other legislators speak out to treat all North Carolinians fairly and call out Rep. Brown for his actions.”