(CNN) – New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner issued an apology Thursday after a woman he was speaking to referred to his Democratic primary rival, Christine Quinn, using a gay slur.
Weiner said he had admonished the woman at the time, but was apologizing if anyone was left with the impression he condoned what she said about Quinn, who is a lesbian.
"Homophobia is vile and destructive and something I have fought against for the entirety of my career, including being a vocal supporter of gay marriage since 1998 and standing up on the floor of Congress for transgender Americans,” Weiner said in a statement that was distributed by his campaign on Twitter.
“I admonished the woman amid a large crowd on a street corner and by no means believe that anything about her comment was appropriate. If the impression is that I did, I apologize because behavior like this will absolutely not be tolerated in my administration," he said.
The exchange, which came while Weiner was canvassing New Yorkers for signatures on his ballot petition, was captured by a reporter for the Washington Post.
“You a registered Democrat?” Weiner asked a woman the Post described as elderly.
“I am, and I’m not voting for uh, what’s her name? The dyke,” the woman responded.
Weiner asked the woman to sign his petition before saying, “You really shouldn’t talk that way about people.”
After she apologized, the Post said Weiner responded, ““It’s okay. It’s not your fault.”
When asked about the exchange with the woman later, Weiner said he has “admonished her to not say anything further,” but that he had “no memory of saying anything beyond that.”
Weiner is making a political comeback attempt. He left Congress in 2011 after getting caught up in a lewd messaging scandal.
Polls have shown him trailing Quinn in their race for a spot on the ballot in November. Other Democrats in the race include New York City Public Advocate Bill de Balsio's and former City Comptroller Bill Thompson.
If she wins the Democratic primary and goes on to win the general election in November, Quinn would become New York’s first female and first openly gay mayor.