The Republican candidate for New York governor stood by his comments on homosexuality Monday but said that the most controversial line -- one that appeared only in his prepared remarks -- was written by somebody else, possibly a rabbi.
Carl Paladino is under fire for saying at a Brooklyn synagogue Sunday that he doesn't want children "brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality" is acceptable. But there was also a line, which Paladino did not say, in his prepared text that read: "There is nothing to be proud of in being a dysfunctional homosexual."
Paladino told Fox News on Monday that the criticism he's facing stems largely from that passage. He said the line was not his and he did not approve of it.
"It was in a prepared statement, with a submission that came from the rabbis that we were talking to," he said, later clarifying that he's not sure who wrote it. Paladino said he "scratched out" that section while reviewing the text in the car before the event.
"I said this isn't me, and I scratched it out," he said. "I certainly don't feel that way. ... The whole issue was raised, though, on remarks that I did not make."
But Paladino made several other comments about homosexuality, giving fodder to the campaign of his Democratic opponent Andrew Cuomo.
A Cuomo campaign spokesman, Josh Vlasto, said Paladino's comments demonstrate "a stunning homophobia and a glaring disregard for basic equality."
"These comments, along with other views he has espoused, make it clear that he is way out of the mainstream and is unfit to represent New York," Vlasto said.
At the synagogue event, Paladino said he chose not to march in this summer's gay pride parade but his opponent did. "That's not how God created us," Paladino said of being gay, "and that's not the example that we should be showing our children."
He added that children who later in life choose to marry people of the opposite sex and raise families would be "much better off and much more successful."
"I don't want them to be brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid and successful option," he said.
Paladino, who opposes gay marriage, made the comments just hours after eight people were arraigned in an attack on a gay man and two gay teens in the Bronx on Oct. 3.
Referencing the attacks, he told Fox News that the point he was trying to convey was that "homosexuals suffer from a horrible discrimination."
"You saw what happened in New York this week," he said, calling the violence "just wrong."
Paladino told Fox News that he has "absolutely no reservations whatsoever about homosexuality" and that members of his staff are gay. He said he would be willing to hire gay employees in his administration if elected.
Paladino also suggested children should be shielded from the kind of scenes on display at gay pride parades.
"I stumbled on one in Toronto one time, with my wife, and we watched this," Paladino recalled. "And there were men in Speedos grinding and doing things, okay, to each other on this tractor-trailer. And I just said that's not right."
Recent polls have showed Cuomo with a big lead over Paladino in the governor's race. Several minor-party candidates also are seeking to replace Gov. David Paterson, who took office after former Gov. Eliot Spitzer stepped down in a prostitution scandal but isn't seeking election to a full term.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.