Carl Paladino

Comments describing gay people as harmful to children by a candidate for New York Governor has led to storm of outrage.

Gubernatorial hopeful Carl Paladino has insisted he is not a homophobe, despite making the anti-gay comments to Orthodox Jewish leaders in Brooklyn over the weekend.

He was reported by some sources as saying that there is “nothing to be proud of in being a dysfunctional homosexual”.

Paladino (64) also said that he didn’t march in New York’s gay Pride parade this year because “that’s not the example that we should be showing our children, and certainly not in our schools.”

He added: “I don’t want them to be brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid and successful option.”

On Monday, Paladino – who is a Republican – appeared on two television shows to announce that “I’m not a homophobe”.

He also insisted that while a leaked copy of his speech, which was written by a Rabbi, included the “dysfunctional homosexual” comment, he crossed it out and did not say it while delivering his speech.

Speaking on Good Morning America about whether he believe being gay is a choice, Paladino said:

“I’ve had difficulty with that. My [gay] nephew tells me he didn’t have that choice. And I believe it’s a very, very difficult life for a young person. I believe that young people should not necessarily be exposed to that without some really, really mature background first before, so they can learn to deal with it. It is a very difficult thing.”

On the Today Show Paladino said he would include gay people in his administration should he be voted in.

He also issued a statement saying: “I enjoy a close relationship with my nephew, who is gay, and I certainly consider him to be a functional child of God.”

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg commented that Paladino’s speech is “not what America stands for and it’s not what New York stands for, and I won’t dignify it with anything else.”

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