October 13th, 2010
Tea Party-backed Republican candidate Carl P. Paladino, whose anti-gay remarks to Orthodox Jewish leaders sparked outcry in New York and embarrassment among fellow state Republicans, has finally issued a letter of apology for his outburst.
In remarks delivered to Orthodox Jewish rabbis, Paladino called gay people “perverts who seek to target our children and destroy their lives,” and said that gays were trying to “brainwash [them] into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid or successful option.”
The following morning, Paladino appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America, where, incredibly, he tried to paint his remarks as being empathetic to LGBT people who experience discrimination. He also insisted that he was not anti-gay and would hire gay people in his administration.
Later, in Paladino’s letter of apology, he wrote, “I sincerely apologize for any comment that may have offended the Gay and Lesbian Community or their family members.” He also said that he was a “live and let live person,” and that “I am 100% against discrimination of any group. I oppose discrimination of any kind in housing, credit, insurance benefits or visitation.”
Elsewhere, Paladino has said that he would veto a marriage equality bill if it should reach his desk as governor and has called for a statewide referendum on the subject.
The most incredible admission in his letter is this:
Yesterday I was handed a script. I redacted some contents that were unacceptable. I did also say some things for which I should have chosen better words.
We know that one redacted content was the line, “There is nothing to be proud of in being a dysfunctional homosexual.” The Jewish Week reports that it was Rabbi Yehoda Levin who prepared the remarks. Which, if true, means that Paladino will mostly read whatever words anyone thrusts in front of him.
Meanwhile, the laws of unintended consequences continue to hold sway. In reaction to the backlash against Paladino’s comments, New York state Senate GOP leader Dean Skelos said that if the Republicans win control of the chamber, he would bring the marriage equality bill to the floor again for an up-or-down vote, although he remains opposed to the bill.
Also, the New York Daily News reports that Paladino has made quite a lot of money off of gay people as the landlord of a couple of Buffalo gay clubs.
Here is the full text of Paladino’s letter of apology:
I am Carl Paladino, a father, a husband, a builder and a business owner. I am neither perfect, nor a career politician. I have made mistakes in this campaign – I have made mistakes all my life- as we all have. I am what I am – a simple man who works hard, trusts others, and loves his family and fears for the future of our State.
Yesterday I was handed a script. I redacted some contents that were unacceptable. I did also say some things for which I should have chosen better words. I said other things that the press misinterpreted and misstated. I sincerely apologize for any comment that may have offended the Gay and Lesbian Community or their family members. Any reference to branding an entire community based on a small representation of them is wrong. My personal beliefs are:
1) I am a live and let live person.
2) I am 100% against discrimination of any group. I oppose discrimination of any kind in housing, credit, insurance benefits or visitation.
3) I am 100% against hate crimes in any form.
4) I am in support of civil agreements and equal rights for all citizens.
5) My position on marriage is based on my personal views. I have the same position on this issue as President Barrack Obama. I have previously stated I would support a referendum by New York voters. I have proposed Initiative and Referendum so New Yorkers can decide important issues like this.
6) The portrayal of me as anti-gay is inconsistent with my lifelong beliefs and actions and my prior history as an father, employer and friend to many in the gay and lesbian community.
I am concerned with the future for all our citizens, gay, straight, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and Muslim and Agnostic. Although I am not perfect I do admit my mistakes. I will reach out to leaders of the gay community to educate me on how to better represent my support for the rights of all citizens. If elected as your governor I will stand and fight for all gay New Yorkers rights. I ask you for forgiveness on my poorly chosen words and the publication by others not involved with our campaign of unredacted script that did not reflect my oral statement or match my personal feelings. Please go to my website www.paladinoforthepeople.com to learn more detail about the issues including my staunch support for civil rights for all New Yorkers.
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