Gay rights groups have accused New York gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino of encouraging anti-gay attacks.

The Republican's Sunday remarks to Orthodox Jewish leaders are being criticized by gay rights groups.

In contrasting his views on gay marriage with those of his opponent, Andrew Cuomo, the Democratic state attorney general, Paladino said his opposition to the institution stems from not wanting children “brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality” is acceptable.

“I just think my children and your children would be much better off and much more successful getting married and raising a family, and I don't want them brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid and successful option – it isn't,” he said.

The Tea Party favorite added: “I didn't march in the gay parade this year – the gay pride parade this year. My opponent did, and that's not the example we should be showing our children.” (Video is embedded in the right panel on this page.)

According to, Paladino omitted the following sentence from his speech: “There is nothing to be proud of in being a dysfunctional homosexual.”

The remarks come as New Yorkers cope with a brutal hate crime spree against 3 gay men.

“Paladino's outrageous remarks are an embarrassment to fair-minded New Yorkers,” Jarrett Barrios, president of the media watchdog group Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), said in a statement. “This vile language is putting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in harm's way. It does nothing but contribute to a climate that encourages incidents like the recent brutal anti-gay attacks in New York City and the anti-gay bullying that led to numerous teen suicides over the last month.”

“It is unfathomable that Carl Paladino could espouse the homophobic position that the lives of gay New Yorkers are not as valid as his,” Ross D. Levi, executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda, the state's largest gay rights advocate, said.

In a Monday appearance on ABC's Good Morning America, Paladino dismissed charges by the Cuomo campaign that his remarks were homophobic.

“You know, at first he called me an anti-Semitic. Now he wants to call me a homophobic. I'm not a homophobic. I have no reservations whatsoever about gays only – except for marriage,” he told George Stephanopoulos.

But later in the interview, Paladino says children should not be exposed to gay pride parades.

“It wasn't pretty,” he says, referring to a Toronto parade he stumbled across with his wife. “It was a bunch of very extreme type people in bikini type outfits grinding at each other and doing these gyrations. And I certainly wouldn't let my young children see that.”