On Sunday, while speaking to a group of Orthodox Jewish leaders in Brooklyn, New York gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino made a number of remarks about homosexuality, saying that "marriage should be between a man and a woman, pure and simple," and that children shouldn't be "brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid and successful option--it isn't." On Monday, Paladino appeared to double down on those comments, telling The Today Show's Matt Lauer that he didn't "regret the remarks" and criticizing his Democratic opponent, Andrew Cuomo, for taking his daughters to a gay pride parade to watch "a couple of grown men grind against each other ... I think it's disgusting."
Paladino has always been seen as something of a hothead, but his latest remarks have incensed the gay community and caused many to question whether he can be taken seriously as a candidate. Below, a sampling of the reactions.
See Ya, Carl The Economist's M.S. notes that "there are a lot of gay people in the state of New York" and "you don't win a race for governor by gratuitously insulting major constituencies." Furthermore, the author says, "it's none of Carl Paladino's business whether Andrew Cuomo, or any other New York parent, wants to take their kids to a gay-pride parade ... It's Mr Paladino who comes off looking like a 'very extreme-type person' here, and whatever shot he had at winning the race for governor in New York is now probably over."
Remember Those Porn Videos? At Firedoglake, blogger Watertiger has trouble reconciling Paladino's defense of family values with his adultery and habit of forwarding racist jokes and extreme pornography to his colleagues. "Paladino thinks men 'grinding at each other' is disgusting, but has no problem distributing videos of a woman 'doing a horse,'" she writes. "Homosexuals can't get married, but sleeping around on your wife is hunky dory ... I think [Paladino is] more likely to wind up in the cast of 'Jackass' than in the governor's mansion in Albany."
Dangerously Irresponsible An editorial in The New York Times expresses disbelief that Paladino would make these comments only days after three men in the Bronx were beaten and sodomized on suspicion of being gay, and a wave of suicides have drawn national attention to the problem of homophobia. The timing "suggests at the very least an extraordinary level of insensitivity," the editorial says.
Why Is He Doing This? wonders Roger Stone, the well-known Republican consultant who has advised Paladino in the past. "It is clear that my advice is having no impact," Stone told The Advocate. "I just can't imagine why he would go out and do this ... It's inconsistent with any of the advice I have given his campaign." Stone also noted that Paladino has "a gay nephew whom the candidate welcomed into his campaign," making his comments this weekend all the more puzzling.
Collateral Damage: Other Republicans The Wall Street Journal reports that Eric Schneiderman, the Democratic candidate for New York Attorney General, is leveraging Paladino's comments against his opponent, Republican Dan Donovan. Paladino had endorsed Donovan for AG, and Donovan's campaign has said they won't reject the endorsement--leading Schneiderman's campaign to blast Donovan for not distancing himself from Paladino's "racially and sexually offensive" comments.
Paladino Is For Family Values, smirks Jon Stewart of The Daily Show. "Because he would never take either one of his two simultaneous families to a gay pride parade."
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