New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino’s speech before an Orthodox Jewish group on Sunday sparked a wave of criticism from Democrats, Republicans, and gay-rights groups alike. Before the day was out, according to CNN, the Tea Party-backed gubernatorial hopeful seemed to have found a way to drop further in the polls behind Democratic candidate Andrew Cuomo.
Paladino told the group that he didn’t want children “to be brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid or successful option … it isn’t.”
Still, those words were somewhat less harsh than a couple lines in Paladino’s prepared statements (obtained by CNN affiliate NY1): “There is nothing to be proud of in being a dysfunctional homosexual. That is not how God created us.”
Carl Paladino noted in a statement Sunday evening, following the media uproar over his reported and written remarks, that he did not include the two lines because he did not agree with them. “Apparently a few reporters relied upon suggested remarks distributed by my hosts at the synagogue in Williamsburg after my departure, not the actual statement I made.”
To clarify, Paladino said in the statement: “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.”
He noted that his nephew was gay. “I unequivocally have no other reservations about homosexuality,” the statement continued. “I enjoy a close relationship with my nephew who is gay and I certainly consider him to be a functional child of God.”
He went on: “I just think my children and your children would be much better off and much more successful getting married and raising a family.”
Criticizing Andrew Cuomo, his Democratic opponent, for marching in New York’s gay pride parade in June with his daughters, Paladino said, “That’s not the example that we should be showing the children and certainly not in our schools.”
Cuomo’s spokesman, Josh Vlasto, blasted Paladino, saying that Paladino’s words were a display of “stunning homophobia and a glaring disregard for basic equality,” adding that the comments, along with others he’s made in the campaign, made him unfit to govern New York.
Paladino seems to think suppressing one’s homosexuality is an option, a “choice” one turns on and off at whim. In addition, he seems to think that children are brainwashed into believing that the choice is valid and/or successful as opposed to heterosexuality, implying that, instead, they should be disabused of the notion. Yet he says he “unequivocally” has “no other reservations about homosexuality.” How can he reconcile his “unequivocally” having “no other reservations about homosexuality” with the phrase that society should not let “children be brainwashed” about the validity or success of the lifestyle, which is a direct repudiation of the state of being homosexual?
Besides, homosexual groups and advocates do not agree with that sentiment, finding that homosexuality is more of a biological predisposition than a choice, as natural as heterosexuality, just not as common. It isn’t an abnormality, homosexuals attest, just a different biological state.
In the end, Paladino, who was heavily supported by the Tea Party in his Republican primary run, and his camp hid behind religion. His campaign manager, Michael Caputo, said, “Carl Paladino’s position on this is exactly equivalent to the Catholic Church. And if Andrew Cuomo has a problem with the Catholic Church’s position on abortion and homosexuality, he needs to take it up with his parish priest.”
Andrew Cuomo, of course, is Catholic — as is Paladino. The jab was meant to paint Cuomo as an out-of-line Catholic and in opposition to the church, a dangerous place to be in New York politics.
Still, Andrew Cuomo currently enjoys an 18.8 percent advantage in the New York gubernatorial race in the Real Clear Politics average of polls. It is extremely doubtful Paladino’s remarks about homosexuality will help in swaying the vote in his direction.
Possibly the best rebuttal to Carl Paladino’s words came from his own Republican Party’s gay members. Gregory T. Angelo, chairman of the Log Cabin Republicans of New York State, told CNN that Carl Paladino’s statements” “unfortunate” and showed he lacked “an understanding of what it means to be gay.” He added, “I think gay men and women — my neighbors and your neighbors — would be much better off and much more successful if they were allowed equal rights and the option of getting married and raising a family. I don’t want New Yorkers to be brainwashed into thinking that ignorance is an equally valid and successful option. It isn’t.”
It appears to be for Carl Paladino, candidate for selective tolerance…