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New York Politician Apologizes After Calling Cynthia Nixon an ‘Unqualified Lesbian’

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) supporter and former New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn apologized for comments she made to the New York Post about actress, activist, and New York gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon.

In the interview published on Tuesday, Quinn, who identifies as a lesbian, referred to Nixon as an “unqualified lesbian” and hammered the actress for not supporting her mayoral run. (Nixon supported now-Mayor Bill de Blasio.)

“Cynthia Nixon was opposed to having a qualified lesbian become mayor of New York City,” she told the Post. “Now she wants to be an unqualified lesbian to be the governor of New York. You have to be qualified and have experience. She isn’t qualified to be the governor.”

On Tuesday afternoon, however, Quinn apologized in a series of tweets. A spokesperson for Quinn also sent TIME the following statement:

“Cynthia Nixon’s identity has no bearing on her gubernatorial candidacy and it was not my intention to suggest it did. I want to be clear about that. I would never, ever, criticize someone because of their identity. I’ve experienced that kind of criticism time and time again and I would never support it or condone it. As a lesbian who ran one of the most high-profile races in the country, I know what that’s like. And I know it’s imperative that we encourage more members of our community to run for office.”

“Cynthia Nixon aggressively opposed my candidacy in New York, despite my qualifications for the office and despite my strong progressive credentials. I was attempting to make a comparison between the two of us. The real point I am trying to make is that qualifications matter and records matter. I do not believe she has the qualifications or the record.”

Nixon announced her candidacy on Monday, and will challenge Gov. Cuomo, who is running for his third term, in the Democratic primary. The actress best known for her role as Miranda Hobbes in HBO’s Sex and the City has never held political office, though she has been politically active on the issues of public education, LGBT rights, and women’s health. In interviews, Nixon has identified herself as bisexual.

Quinn, who was Speaker from January 2006 to December 2013 and ran for mayor in 2013, praised the actress for her political activism for progressive causes, but hit Nixon for lacking political experience.

In 2014, Quinn stumped for Cuomo to make the Women’s Equality Party an official New York state political party. In 2015, Quinn was named a special adviser to Gov. Cuomo.

Nixon, who is running on a progressive platform, responded telling the Post, “It’s time for an outsider. I’m not an Albany insider.”

TIME reached out to Nixon’s campaign.

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