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NY Candidate Gay-Bashes to Orthodox Applause

And today blames hottest lines on Jewish leaders

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Carl Paladino yesterday.(Kathy Willens/AP/NYT)

Carl Paladino, the Republicans’ gubernatorial candidate in New York, said some pretty mean things about gay people yesterday. “I don’t want [our children] brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid and successful option—it isn’t,” he said. He added, of Democratic candidate (and state attorney general) Andrew Cuomo, “I didn’t march in the gay parade this year—the gay pride parade this year. My opponent did, and that’s not the example we should be showing our children.” In a twist that makes this look both better and worse, he did not say a line that appeared in his prepared text: “There is nothing to be proud of in being a dysfunctional homosexual.”

And he said it all, to applause, to Orthodox Jewish leaders at Congregation Shaarei Chaim in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. (Other major applause lines were anti-immigration and pro-“religious citizens.”)

Moreover, this morning Paladino has taken to the airwaves—in a state where 58 percent of residents advocate same-sex marriage, and with a gigantic city that has, shall we say, a not insubstantial gay population—to say that the most red-meat of the lines (including the one about “dysfunctional homosexuality”) were actually inserted by Jewish leaders, who, he added, “went too far.”

Here is a copy of the speech, courtesy Newsday’s Reid Epstein, with all the lines crossed out. Note that the original line had it, “There is nothing to be proud of in being a dysfunctional homosexual. That’s not how G-d created us … .” (Note also the scrubbed section about the downtown Islamic center, “a mosque whose real purpose is to mock the martyred victims of 9/11.” Again, to be fair, or at least accurate, he didn’t say that.)

The sordid event makes you wonder a lot of things. It makes you wonder why Paladino decided to go on the offensive against Cuomo over gay rights—“I was trying to define myself very clearly as opposed to Mr. Cuomo,” he told Matt Lauer this morning, while already in damage-control mode. “Mr. Cuomo took his daughters to a gay pride parade. Is that normal? Would you do it?”—at a gathering of Orthodox Jews. Maybe because he knew this crowd would greet his hate with especially strong support? It makes you wonder whether these Orthodox leaders know that Paladino, brave upholder of family values, has a daughter from an extramarital relationship, and that he said of (Orthodox Jewish) Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, “If I could ever describe a person who would fit the bill of an Antichrist or a Hitler, this guy is it.”

And it makes you wonder what it says that the Republican primary electorate in a major state chose this guy, who has too many sketchy scandals and disqualifications and embarrassments to go over here, as its standard-bearer.

Paladino Laces Speech with Antigay Remarks [NYT]
What Is It Like To Cover a Candidate Who Will Say Anything? [Capital]
The Paladino Show [Ben Smith]

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Mr Mel says:

This guy and the Ultra Orthodox will get along just fine. Paladino will take down the Republican ticket with him. Which is OK with me.

If you put this stuff in a book noone would believe that it could really happen. With an election climate that we have today in the country you would think that there would be someone the Republicans could find that is a little more media savvy.He really had me when he went after the journalists for stalking his ten year old,any parent would understand that reaction. He should have stopped there.

As an Orthodox Jew I do not agree w/ a homosexual lifestyle, however creating anger w/ hateful words is NOT THE PROPER WAY. Respect is demanded to address another human being who is made in the image of G-d. Derech Eretz (proper manners) and understanding is required for all such talks. Anything less will only fuel baseless hatred, for which the Temple was destroyed and remains so until today.


Jerry Shapiro says:

Fundamentalism is fundamentalism. Paladino would have gotten the same applause at a Taliban mosque. Both cults live in a secluded, insular, phobic world. I never understood why ultra orthodox jews and muslims didn’t get along better. After all they both eat kosher food. They both circumcise their male children. And they both have contempt for women (and gays). It’s a match in heaven.

Lisa Kaiser says:

Palodino and the Jews who applauded him are shameful examples of the uman race.


Not all Orthodox Jews think or agree with what Paladino said and certainly not the way he said it. Not all Orthodox Jews are insular or recluses either. I for example work in a firm in Manhattan with mostly non-Jews and I have a good working relationship with them. If we do not want others to be prejudice against who we are, we must return them the favor. Judging people in “Black & White” terms is a dangerous game in a world that comes in shades of grey.


I am Canadian not American. I read the medieval comments of your candidate Carl Paladino. By the grace of God, he would not last long as a political figure in my enlightened country. If you want to learn about the blight such prejudice can bring upon an Orthodox family, read my award-winning book, Mourning and Celebration.
Mr. Paladino seems to be a fine example of a dysfunctional heterosexual, but I can accept that.

billie says:

Carl Paladino and his adoring crowd of men in black hats deserve each other and in my humble opinion, they represent the worst of society (excluding bona fide criminals of course). I am Jewish and know that there are Orthodox Jews who are not extremists (forgive me, but some of my best friends are)and also know that Paladino does not represent the Roman Catholic church or Italian-Americans (ditto about some of my best friends are). And Aliza, homosexuality is not a life style; one doesn’t choose it, one is.

It’s amazing that everyone is het-up about comments made about homosexual people, but feel completely free to bash Orthodox Jews.
How about equal treatment of anyone who is “other”?

Brian Kaye says:

To disparage and demonize any people – especially as a collective group – is totally antithetical to fundamental Judaism; RESPECT for all is required, especially the ‘other’, and to do otherwise to gain votes in an election is despicable and has no place in a civil society. Those that support this divisive behavior must be shamed. Re the comment about homosexuality as a ‘lifestyle’, no one decides to choose their sexuality; straight people don’t choose theirs and neither do gay/bisexual/transgender people. Open your heart and embrace the beauty in all – all of us laugh, cry and bleed if cut.

Mr Mel says:

“Both cults live in a secluded, insular, phobic world.”

Mr Shapiro, you have a valid point. There is however a major difference between them, the Ultra Orthodox Jews are much less murderous than their Muslim counterparts.

Jerry Shapiro says:

Mr. Mel: I assume you are not referring to the Orthodox Jew who marched into a mosque in Jerusalem and randomly killed Muslims at prayer. I could go on. To Leah: orthodox jews are not “the other” to me. I grew up in an orthodox jewish family and community. I know first-hand about their fear of the outside world, their insularity and their narrow prejudices. To Aliza I would say I agree. The world is not black and white. But a cult by any other name is still a cult. Ultra Orthodox Jews represent the height of group think. They do what their Rabbi tells them to do. They vote the way their Rabbi tells them to vote (which is why politicians covet their approval). And they marry who their Rabbi tells them to marry. And if they deviate, they are expelled and shunned (and the family often sits shiva for them). If that isn’t a cult, I don’t know what is.

nothing to say about communities that don’t have empathy for the “other”

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NY Candidate Gay-Bashes to Orthodox Applause

And today blames hottest lines on Jewish leaders

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