New York gubernatorial hopeful Carl
Paladino on Monday backtracked a bit from controversial anti-gay
marriage comments he made on Sunday.
Paladino created a firestorm of
controversy when he told a group of Orthodox Jewish leaders in
Brooklyn that he opposes gay marriage.
In contrasting his views on the
institution 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
to Newsday.com, Paladino omitted the following sentence from his
speech: “There is nothing to be proud of in being a dysfunctional
On Monday, Paladino conceded that he
could “have used some better words” in an interview with ABC News
Radio, but denied he was being insensitive: “Was I in any way
insensitive to the homosexual, the gay crowd? In my mind, absolutely
In a Monday appearance on ABC's Good
Morning America, Paladino
dismissed charges by the Cuomo campaign that his remarks were
“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.”
At a Columbus Day parade, Paladino
again denied he's anti-gay and insisted he had been misquoted.
“My remarks were very clear,” he
told reporters. “I am 100 percent, unequivocally pro-gay rights.
Except for one thing: gay marriage. That's it.”