Paladino on gays

October 11, 2010 2:20:14 PM PDT
You'd think the race to become Governor of New York might, if anything, border on boring, with high-minded policy wonk issues dominating the debate and the stuffiness of East Coast politics permeating the discussion.

Man oh man would you be wrong, at least this year.

It's hard for many people, if you're to believe the polls, to get a beat on the Republican candidate, Carl Paladino. He's also backed by the Tea Party.

I'm not talking about your typical political leanings; I'm not going to get involved in that kind of issue during an election campaign.

The surprising thing about Mr. Paladino is that he seems willing, even eager, to just throw political and ethical landmines into the campaign. His sexist and racist e-mails caused controversy early on. Now his comments last night to a group of Hassidic Jews about his take on gays and lesbians --- comments that he read --- have taken the race for Governor to a new low.

Today, Mr. Paladino spent the day reacting to the brouhaha caused by his remarks.

Meanwhile, some are expressing surprise that so little attention has been paid to the rounds of applause by the Orthodox men who listened to Mr. Paladino's remarks. The question has been raised by some: Where are the other Jews of New York - and there many - with a negative reaction to these anti-gay remarks? And the comparison has been made to the pleas from non-Muslims to how moderate Muslims should react to the fanaticism of fundamental Islamics. If only moderate Muslims would condemn the extremist fringe, the argument usually goes, then the war on terror would succeed.

I was raised as a Jew, and I know most Jews do not agree with the Orthodox men we saw applauding Mr. Paladino's remarks about gays.

One thing's for sure, Mr. Paladino has made sure this race isn't boring. We'll have the latest on the controversy over his remarks, and on the campaign, tonight at 11.

Meanwhile, the ninth suspect in that brutal anti-gay attack by some gang bangers in the Bronx has, late this afternoon, turned himself in. "Brutal" isn't strong enough a word to describe the depraved and barbaric beatings and sodomy that three gay men endured allegedly from these young gang members.

One of the victims, and his father, speaking to Eyewitness News tonight in an emotional and frightening interview.

And no matter where you stand on the same-sex marriage issue, it's hard to imagine that hate-filled words don't add fuel to what is becoming a frightening environment for many gays and lesbians. The threat of bias attacks is real, at least judging by the recent wave of them.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Scott Clark with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER

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