Gay conservatives still open to Paladino

Chris Moody Contributor
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The country’s two national conservative gay groups have a message for Carl Paladino: We’re still willing to work with you. (Just don’t let it happen again.)

New York’s loose-tongued candidate for governor took a lashing in the media this week after he was caught on tape telling a group of Orthodox Jewish rabbis that children should not be “brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid or successful option” as being straight. Paladino has apologized and backtracked from his remarks, claiming he was just reading a “script”

“If elected as your governor I will stand and fight for all gay New Yorkers rights,” Paladino said in a statement. “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.”

Before the apology, The Log Cabin Republicans, a gay-rights group, called the comments “disgraceful” and “out of touch.”

“It is reckless and irresponsible for anybody in public life today to suggest that gay and lesbian Americans are somehow less worthy of respect because of who they are,” Log Cabin’s Deputy Executive Director Christian Berle said.

But now that Paladino has softened his tone, it appears some are willing to give him another opportunity to prove his salt.

“People are entitled to make mistakes and are entitled to second chances,” said Christopher Barron, chairman of GOProud, a Washington-based group that represents gay conservatives. “GOProud takes Mr. Paladino at his word and accepts his apology.”

GOProud made headlines recently when they invited conservative pundit Ann Coulter to speak at an event in New York despite her outspoken opposition to gay marriage.

The Log Cabin Republicans, however, were more nuanced in their reaction to the apology: “We appreciate that he has admitted that his statements were wrong and that he wants to use this opportunity to learn more,” Berle said, adding that Paladino’s apology had been “received.”

“This is to say the matter is not settled,” he said. “Log Cabin Republicans recognizes that he has made a public apology and seeks to continue a dialogue with his campaign around this and other issues.”

As happens so often in politics, no candidate can please everyone. The Orthodox rabbis he was addressing when he delivered the anti-gay remarks withdrew their support upon hearing the news of Paladino’s apology.

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