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Carl Paladino Goes on Anti-Gay Rant, Says Children Shouldn't Be 'Brainwashed'

By DNAinfo Staff on October 11, 2010 6:27am  | Updated on October 11, 2010 10:05am

By Jill Colvin

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

MANHATTAN — Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino told a group in Brooklyn Sunday that children should not be "brainwashed" into thinking it's okay to be gay.

"I don’t want them to be brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid or successful option. It isn't," Paladino told a group of Orthodox Jewish leaders in Williamsburg.

Paladino also criticized his opponent, Andrew Cuomo, for marching in a gay pride parade this year, saying "that's not the example we should be showing our children."

"My children and your children will be much better off and much more successful getting married and raising a family," he said.

The comments were captured and posted online by a reporter at WNYC .

A different version of the speech, obtained by reporters, included a line saying that said there is "nothing to be proud of in being a dysfunctional homosexual," the Daily News reported.

During an appearance on the "TODAY Show" Monday, Paladino said he specifically omitted that line, which was written by the group he was speaking to, because he found it "unacceptable."

"I crossed it out in the car. I did not say it," he said.

Paladino said during the "TODAY Show" appearance that he has no problem hiring and working with gays and lesbians. He also described the discrimination they face as "horrible."

Cuomo's campaign issued a statement after the speech accusing Paladino of displaying "a stunning homophobia and a glaring disregard for basic equality."

"These comments along with other views he has espoused make it clear that he is way out of the mainstream and is unfit to represent New York," spokesperson Josh Vlasto said.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn also blasted Paladino, saying the comments were "not only deeply offensive" but "dangerous" given recent events.

"Given the horrifying anti-LGBT hate crime recently in the Bronx where four people were brutally attacked, the bullying of Tyler Clementi which led him to take his own life, and the recent rash of suicides by at least seven LGBT youth, Mr. Paladino should be ashamed for his hateful and backward remarks," she said in a statement.

Republican attorney general candidate Dan Donovan, who has been reluctant to comment on Paladino in the past, also distanced himself from his ticket-mate, describing the statements as "offensive."

“We should be fostering a dialogue on tolerance. These statements do not achieve that," he said in a statement Monday.

But Paladino fought back, saying that while he opposes gay marriage because of his religion, he also opposes discrimination "of any form."

"I unequivocally have no other reservations about homosexuality," he said in a statement released by his campaign, noting that he enjoys a close relationship with his nephew, who is gay.