NEW YORK CITY and BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP & WGRZ) -- New York Democrat Andrew Cuomo says his opponent's comments about homosexuality are reckless in light of recent violence, while Republican Carl Paladino insists he is not anti-gay.
Both candidates for governor spoke while appearing Monday at the Columbus Day Parade in Manhattan.
Paladino says he stands up for the rights of everyone and abhors anti-gay violence. He said he does not discriminate but thinks young children shouldn't be exposed to "extremists" in gay culture, especially at gay pride parades.
On Sunday, Paladino told Orthodox Jewish leaders he doesn't want children "brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality" is an acceptable lifestyle.
Cuomo called Paladino's remarks "reckless and divisive."
Paladino's comments came hours after eight suspects were arraigned in an attack on a gay man and two gay teens. Asked whether they were appropriate given the attack, Paladino said he doesn't want to "hurt homosexual people in any way."
The tea party-supported candidate has said he opposes gay
A spokesman for Democratic opponent Andrew Cuomo says Paladino's comments demonstrate "a glaring disregard for basic equality."
Paldino released a statement late Sunday night stating, "In my speech today to Orthodox Jewish leaders in New York City, I noted my opposition to gay marriage, insipred by my Catholic beliefs."
Back in Buffalo, the senior director for the Pride Center of WNY described Paladino's remarks as homophobic and hate-filled.
"The idea that children are being exposed to something (bad) is just maddening," said Jorien Brock, adding that "there's also recent research that... says children who are raised in same-sex coupled families actually are doing better academically and socially."
Andrew Mattle, a gay man from Buffalo and father of four children with his male partner, said he will have a difficult time explaining Paladino's remarks to his kids.
"As a gay person raising children, that really makes me angry, because that's the complete opposite message than what we're teaching our children," Mattle said. "We're teaching equality, love."