Monday, 11 October 2010

Carl Paladino's Gay Remarks Cause Controversy

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New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino continues to make headlines with his off-the-cuff remarks. On Sunday, October 10, Paladino told Orthodox Jewish leaders at Karlsburg Rabbinical College in Brooklyn that he does not want children to be “brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality” is acceptable. Now Paladino contends that he is owed an apology by the mainstream media, who allegedly reported inaccurately on his comments.

When Paladino appeared at the synagogue in the Borough Park section of Brooklyn, he criticized his opponent for marching in the New York gay pride parade, asserting, “That’s not how God created us and that’s not the example that we should be showing our children.”

Contending that children would be “much better off and much more successful” if they were encouraged to seek heterosexual marriages and procreate, Paladino adds, “I don’t want them to be brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid and successful option.”

However, in the same prepared speech, a remark appeared, which was allegedly suggested by his “hosts at the synagogue,” that read “There is nothing to be proud of in being a dysfunctional homosexual.” In his address, however, Paladino skipped the remark, but when the draft of the speech circulated, the media reported that Paladino in fact made the statement in his speech.

Paladino explained that he removed the line from his speech because it was “unacceptable to me.”

Angered at the media’s failure to report accurately on his speech, Paladino appeared on CBS’s The Early Show and demanded an apology from local media outlets.

According to the Washington Post, Newsday.com has been the first to report that Paladino in fact did not deliver the controversial statement in his speech.

“I think I made a very, very clear statement…The people at the Daily News and the New York Post that continue this pariah attitude that they’ve got to come and chase me for every darn thing, I think they owe me an apology at some point.”

Paladino also clarified that he has no reservations about homosexuals. “I have a nephew and I have people working for me who are gay. Never had a problem with any of them, never had a problem in any sense with their lifestyle and we’ve talked about it often. I talk to them about the discrimination that they suffer and I’m sensitive to it.”

However, Paladino was clear to emphasize that he is opposed to gay marriage. “I want to clearly define myself. I have no reservations about gay people at all, none, except for one thing, their desire to get married. I feel that marriage is only between a man and a woman. Very clearly, I wanted to state that.”

Likewise, Paladino defended his statements, indicating that children should not be present at gay pride parades to witness men in bikinis “grinding at each other and doing these gyrations. I don’t think that’s proper; I think it’s disgusting.”

He adds, “Young children should not be exposed to that at a young age. They don’t understand; it’s a very difficult thing. And exposing them to homosexuality, especially at a gay pride parade, is just a terrible thing.”

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Cuomo’s campaign spokesman claimed that Paladino showed “a stunning homophobia and a glaring disregard for basic equality.”

Paladino, who is backed by New York conservatives and tea party activists, has been doing his best to appear as a foil to New York’s Democratic gubernatorial candidate, state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.

According to the Washington Post, however, Paladino’s behavior might be a bit too "extreme" for New York voters: “Paladino has a proven penchant for controversial comments and bizarre behavior. Last week, he got into an altercation with a New York Post reporter, and threatened to take him out.”

Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly defended Paladino’s outburst against New York Post editor Frederic Dicker, asserting that people in New York are “fed up” with despicable Albany politics and political correctness in general.

O’Reilly explains, “That might be what we need to get this state under control. This year, all bets are off. And anything can happen because people are angry, and they’re as angry as Paladino. Paladino reflects their anger.”

After a Quinnipiac University poll showed Cuomo leading Paladino, 55 to 37 percent, Paladino bought airtime to address the confrontation with the New York Post editor, as well as other controversial remarks made by the GOP candidate. In the advertisement, Paladino asked Cuomo to “come out and debate like a man.”

According to ABC News, Paladino’s confrontation with the editor, as well as comments he made about Cuomo’s alleged extramarital affairs “are widely acknowledged to have turned off many New Yorkers to Paladino, a first-time candidate trying to channel voter anger with an ‘I’m mad as Hell’ campaign theme.”

A September poll showed Cuomo leading Paladino by a mere 6 points, 49 to 43 percent. Since the recent controversies, Cuomo now boasts a double-digit lead.

Photo: Rabbi Yehuda Levin, right, congratulates New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino at Karlsburg Rabbinical College in the Borough Park neighborhood of Brooklyn, Oct. 10, 2010.: AP Images