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 this page.)

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

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 not.”

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.”

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.”