After two days of defending – then
backtracking a bit – New York GOP gubernatorial candidate Carl
Paladino on Tuesday relented to increasing pressure from Democratic
lawmakers, gay rights advocates and even his own party to apologize
for anti-gay remarks he made Sunday.
“I sincerely apologize for any
comment that may have offended the gay and lesbian community or their
family members,” the Tea Party-backed Paladino said in a statement.
“Any reference to branding an entire
community based on a small representation of them is wrong,” he
In a speech on Sunday to Orthodox
Jewish leaders in Brooklyn, Paladino said that his opposition to gay
marriage stems from not wanting children “brainwashed into thinking
that homosexuality” is acceptable. (The video is embedded in the
right panel of this page.)
More than 100 demonstrators lined up on
Tuesday outside Paladino's campaign headquarters in Buffalo to
protest his remarks. One sign read: “Bigotry, Homophobia, Adultery
– Are These Your Family Values, Carl?”
In early morning interviews on Monday,
he brushed off his critics, including his rival Andrew Cuomo, the
Democratic state attorney general, whom he blasted for having taken
his children to a gay pride parade.
“It wasn't pretty,” he said during
an appearance on ABC's Good Morning America, 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.”
On Wednesday, Paladino's openly gay
nephew, Jeff Hannon, whom the candidate has repeatedly pointed to as
proof that he's not homophobic, told the New York Post that he
was “very offended” by his uncle's remarks.
“Obviously, I'm very offended by his
comments,” Hannon, who works for the Paladino campaign in Buffalo,