New York Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino is in hot water after telling a group of ultra-Orthodox Jewish leaders that he doesn't want children brainwashed into thinking homosexuality is acceptable.
Speaking Sunday in Brooklyn, the Tea Party favorite said homosexuality is not a "successful option" for humanity.
"I didn't march in the gay parade - gay pride parade - this year. My opponent (Andrew Cuomo) did. And that's not the kind of example we should be showing our children," Paladino said.
"My approach is live and let live," he continued. "I just think my children and your children will be much better off and much more successful getting married and raising a family. I don't want them to be brainwashed into thinking homosexuality is a equally valid or successful option."
Paladino later explained his position on ABC News' Good Morning America.
"I wanted to clearly distinguish that my feelings about homosexuality were no different that those of the Catholic Church," he said on the show. "I'm Catholic (and there are) 7.5 million Catholics in the state of New York."
"I wanted to make it clear what my position was and I think I clearly defined it," Paladino continued. "I only have one problem with homosexuality and that's their desire to be married, and beyond that, I don't have a problem whatsoever."
Sunday, Cuomo spokesman Josh Viasto issued a statement in response to Palidino's remarks saying, "Mr. Paladino's statement displays a stunning homophobia and a glaring disregard for basic equality."
Paladino chastised his opponent for bragging that he took his children to see a gay pride parade.
"I was at (a gay pride parade) in Toronto. We stumbled on it, my wife and I, and it wasn't pretty. It was a bunch of very extreme-type people in bikini-type outfits, grinding at each other and doing these gyrations and I certainly wouldn't let my young children see that," Paladino said.
Paladino, who has a gay nephew, said he does not discriminate against homosexuals in his business or personal life, and would have no problem hiring gays in his administration.
Campaign manager Michael R. Caputo said Palidino is neither homophobic nor anti-gay.
"Carl Palidino is simply expressing the views he holds in his heart as a Catholic," Caputo said.