New York state Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. has criticized New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's claim that gay marriage is a civil right.

In delivering a speech Thursday in support of legalizing the institution in the state, the 69-year-old Bloomberg compared the gay rights movement to the African-American civil rights struggle.

“Both events are possible because thousands of courageous individuals risked everything to come out and speak out. And because they did – because they organized and protested, because they poured their hearts out to friends and family and neighbors, because they stood up for their rights and marched for equality and ran for office – laws banning same-sex relationships have been struck down by the Supreme Court. More than 20 states have adopted laws that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. And beginning this year, patriotic men and women will be able to enlist in the U.S. military without having to hide their identity.”

“Today, a majority of Americans support marriage equality – and young people increasingly view marriage equality in much the same way as young people in the 1960s viewed civil rights. Eventually, as happened with civil rights for African-Americans, they will be a majority of voters. And they will pass laws that reflect their values and elect presidents who personify them.”

“It is not a matter of it – but when,” Bloomberg added.

Diaz, considered the Senate's most vocal critic of the proposed legislation, denounced Bloomberg's comparison.

“It was disturbing today to hear Mayor Michael Bloomberg trivialize the suffering and agony of African Americans during the slave era by comparing it to the push to legalize homosexual marriage,” Diaz, who has previously criticized Governor Andrew Cuomo for using his office to campaign for the gay marriage, wrote at his official state website.

“There is no just comparison between America’s struggle to overcome the evils of slavery and the promotion of the lifestyle of homosexuality. It is preposterous for Mayor Bloomberg to degrade and minimize the plight of African-Americans in this civil rights struggle by equating it with the effort to push to legalize homosexual marriage.”

“Before Mayor Bloomberg attempts to borrow from history for comparisons, he should take a look at the uncivil discourse that is taking place by those whose goals he has embraced.”

“Black leaders should not allow Mayor Bloomberg or anyone else trivialize their suffering and their history!” he concluded.