With Governor Andrew Cuomo pushing to legalize same-sex marriage, dueling rallies both for and against the proposed legislation were held Sunday.
A rally against the measure, which was introduced in the state Legislature last week, was held in the Bronx along the Grand Concourse.
Organized by the National Organization for Marriage, participants say the demonstration was held to call for the preservation of traditional marriage, or the union of one man and one woman.
State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr., a reverend and a vocal opponent of gay marriage, was among those who addressed the crowd.
"We're sending a message to the governor that the Hispanic community is against gay marriage," said Diaz.
In Manhattan, supporters of gay marriage gathered to call for equal rights.
They gathered along the sidelines of the AIDS walk route near Riverside Park with a cardboard cut-out depicting Diaz as a drag queen.
"The Bronx has the highest rate of HIV in all of the boroughs in Manhattan and also was the location of the biggest gay bashing a few months ago and so Ruben Diaz is deciding to hold a hate rally in the Bronx instead of rallying for his own constituents," said one same-sex marriage supporter.
Diaz's lesbian granddaughter Erica is among those showing her support for same-sex marriage, but she still appeared by the senator at one point during Sunday's rally.
"He's my grandfather and I respect that he's so firm in what he believes in. However, I have my own opinions on this issue," said Erica Diaz. "I believe that everyone deserves a chance to exercise their human rights and marry the person they love."