New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino spoke on gay rights to a group of orthodox Jewish leaders in Brooklyn today, promising to veto marriage equality legislation and touting the fact that he didn't march in this year's gay pride parade.
In his remarks, Paldadino said:
We must stop pandering to the pornographers and the perverts, who seek to target our children and destroy their lives. I didn't march in the gay parade parade this year -- the gay pride parade this year. My opponent did. And that's not the example that we should be showing our children, certainly not in our schools. (APPLAUSE) And don't misquote me as wanting to hurt homosexual people in any way; that would be a dastardly lie. My approach is live and let live. I just think my children, and your children, will be much better off, and much more successful getting married and raising a family. And I don't want them to be brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid or successful option. It isn't. (APPLAUSE)
WATCH (video captured by Azi Paybarah of WNYC):
According to Newsday's Reid Epstein, the line, "There is nothing to be proud of in being a dysfunctional homosexual. that is not how G-d created us" was in Paladino's prepared text but left out of his actual speech.
In response to Paladino's remarks, Cuomo spokesman Josh Vlasto put out a statement reading, "Mr. Paladino's statement displays a stunning homophobia and a glaring disregard for basic equality. These comments along with other views he has espoused make it clear that he is way out of the mainstream and is unfit to represent New York."
Paladino's campaign manager Michael Caputo also responded, drawing a contrast between the two candidates: "There's a very clear difference between Andrew Cuomo and Carl Paladino. One of them is that Andrew Cuomo promises gay marriage will be legal in the first year of his administration. Carl Paladino has promised he would veto any such legislation. We believe that when the people of New York understand exactly where both candidates stand on this particular issue they will make their choices accordingly."
Paladino's comments come as police are investigating a series of brutal hate crimes against gay men in the Bronx. The suspects reportedly beat, tortured and sodomized three men because of their sexuality. The suicides by several gay students across the nation have also been in the headlines in recent weeks.