Examples of homophobia
2010-OCT-10: Carl Palidino's attack on gays
in a Brooklyn Orthodox Jewish synagogue
The term homophobia originally meant fear of or unease in the presence of lesbians and gays. However, it has evolved into a variety of meanings.
On this website, we define the term homophobia as exhibiting behavior aimed at denigrating --
or restricting the human rights of -- persons who have
a homosexual orientation and/or who engages in homosexual activity. The latter would often involve behavior by bisexuals.
Related terms are homophobe and homophobic.
Attack by Carl Paladino (R-NY):
Carl Paladino is the Republican candidate for governor of New York State in the 2010 campaign. He has received significant levels of Tea Party support. On Sunday, 2010-OCT-10, he addressed an Orthodox Jewish gathering at a synagogue in Brooklyn's Williamsburg section.
Orthodox Judaism lies within the most conservative wing of Judaism. Like the conservative wing in almost all other religions, they strongly oppose equal rights for lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender persons and transsexuals (LGBTs). Paladino is himself a Roman Catholic. He accepts his church's teaching that homosexuality is a disordered state, and that loving, committed, same-sex couples should not be allowed to marry.
The timing of his speech was unfortunate because a few hours before, eight people were arraigned for an torture attack which took place week earlier on a gay man and two gay teens in the Bronx.
Some of his comments:
- He mentioned that he chose to not march in the 2010 gay pride parade, and criticized his Democratic rival, state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo for marching in the parade with his children.
- Referring to homosexual orientation, he said: "That's not how God created us, and that's not the example that we should be showing our children." The "example" to which Paladino is referring appears to be the theme of the gay pride parade which is acceptance of equal rights for LGBTs, including the right to marry.
He said 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." His first comment about success is probably correct, because heterosexuals and opposite-sex married couples have a simpler life; they do not have to fight the widespread public hatred of LGBTs. However, his second comment appears to be in error. Only bisexuals -- a small minority among adults -- are able to choose whether to marry a man or woman. The choice of the sex of a marriage partner is fixed for both heterosexuals and homosexuals, if one assumes that people marry persons to whom they are sexually attracted.
His statement seems to imply that God intends for every infant to grow up to be a heterosexual, and that youths choose their sexual orientation from among what he considers three "options:" homosexuality, bisexuality and heterosexuality. Studies of identical twins who are separated at birth and raised independently indicate that sexual orientation is largely determined before birth. Studies by child psychologists of pre-school children shows that sexual orientation is not an option that one chooses; rather it is an orientation that one discovers later in life.
- Paladino did skip one line from his prepared text, because he did not agree with it. It said: "There is nothing to be proud of in being a dysfunctional homosexual." By doing this, he deviated from the teachings of his church to which he belongs. The Roman Catholic church consistently has taught that homosexual acts are "intrinsically disordered."
- He issued a confusing statement after midnight on Sunday stating:
"In my speech today to Orthodox Jewish leaders in New York City, I noted my opposition to gay marriage, inspired by my Catholic beliefs. I also oppose discrimination of any form."
If he were truly opposed to discrimination against LGBTs, then it would seem that he should support equal marriage rights for persons of all sexual orientations.
Followup and reactions:
- On OCT-11, Paladino appeared on NBC's "Today" show. He referred to gay pride parades as "disgusting" and commented on fellow candidate Andrew Cuomo's decision to take his teenage daughters to a parade in New York. He appears to be referring to Cuomo's twin daughters Cara and Mariah who were aged 15 at the time of the parade. He asked:
"Is that normal? I don't think its proper for them to go there. Any father who would take his children to such things is not really thinking of the fatherly perspective and is more interested in politics."
- Cuomo responded by dismissing the comments as: "... reckless ... divisive ... cynical. ... He's probably the last person I'll take advice from on how to raise my daughters."
- Joe Vlasto, a spokesperson for the Cuomo campaign said that 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 [state as governor]."
- Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) said in a statement:
"All candidates should be focused on solutions to our problems and not the personal lives of our fellow citizens. He should recognize his remarks were highly offensive and he should apologize for them."
- Two other Republican candidates Dan Donovan (running for Attorney General) and Harry Wilson (running for controller) also sharply criticized Paladino's comments on homosexuality.
- One month before election day, Cuomo showed a significant lead over Paladino. The New York Daily News sponsored a poll on their website asking: "What do you really think of Carl Paladino's outspoken ways?" They gave three options:
- 65% agreed with: "He's clearly out of touch with the masses."
- 31% agreed with "It shows he has very clear views and would be a fearless leader."
- 4% said "I'm not sure."
In our opinion, this is one of the most incompetently designed polls that we have seen. A case can be made that Paladino is out of touch with the masses and has very clear homophobic views, and would be a fearless leader. I would personally be at a loss to know how to vote in the poll.
- Senator Tom Duane, (D-NYC) is the only openly gay state senator. Referring to Paladino's child from an extramarital affair, he suggested: "I don't think someone who is living a polygamist lifestyle should be the arbiter of what makes a family."
- On OCT-12, Palidino apologized for using such harsh words as "brainwashed." However, he renewed his opposition to same-sex marriage. His new stance did not appear to be hateful enough against LGBTs because Orthodox Rabbi Yehuda Levin, who represents an umbrella organization of ultra-Orthodox clerics, withdrew his support for Paladino and accused him of bowing to political pressure.
- The New York Daily News revealed on OCT-13 that Paladino was once the landlord for two gay clubs in Buffalo, NY. This caused some Democrats to call him a hypocrite.
- The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force sent a mailing Email
on OCT-18 saying that Palideno's comments:
"... are especially dangerous in the wake of the shocking number of LGBT youth taunted and harassed into suicide in the past few months alone:
- Asher Brown, a 13-year-old middle school student in Houston, fatally shot himself after years of constant bullying over his sexual identity.
- Billy Lucas was just 15 years old when he, reportedly after prolonged bullying at school because of his perceived sexual orientation, took his own life.
- Tyler Clementi, an 18-year-old Rutgers freshman, committed suicide after his roommate broadcast live on the Internet — without Tyler’s knowledge — hidden camera video of Tyler having a sexual encounter with another man in his dorm room."
"Many of us know this feeling and this isolation…. if you or someone you love has been bullied, threatened or harassed due to real or perceived gender identity or sexual orientation, tell us your story by clicking here. When we share our experiences, we can learn from each other, support each other and strengthen our community."
"The likes of Carl Paladino, Rush Limbaugh, Tony Perkins and Glenn Beck might think children -- and adults -- don't need to hear a message of tolerance and compassion, but the recent wave of LGBT youth suicides says otherwise."
According to our report on homeless LGBT youth, up to 40 percent of this country's estimated 1.6 million homeless youth identify as LGBT. Many of them are on the streets because their homes, families and schools are not safe places for them to be who they are. Our youth are harassed and bullied not only by their peers but by their families — the very people who should be sticking up for them with school officials who refuse to act. As horrible, LGBT and questioning youth are up to four times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers, according to the Massachusetts 2006 Youth Risk Survey."
"All students deserve to feel safe in school, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, real or perceived."
"No one should suffer bullying and harassment alone and in the shadows."
The cause of much of the disagreement over sexual orientation can be traced to foundational beliefs about the nature of homosexual orientation itself. In all probability, Paladino, Limbaugh, Perkins. Glenn Beck and essentially all fundamentalist and other evangelical Christian para-church leaders believe that sexual orientation is chosen and can be readily changed through reparative therapy. Thus, if families, schools, and the rest of society were to make life easier for LGBT youth by being compassionate and tolerant, conservatives believe that more teens would choose to adopt a minority sexual orientation or gender identity.
Of course, all or essentially all LGBTs, religious liberals, the large mental health associations, and human sexuality researchers believe that sexual orientation is discovered and is fixed. Being compassionate and tolerant will not increase the number of LGBT persons; it will merely reduce their suicide rate.
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- "NY GOP gov hopeful Paladino makes anti-gay remarks," Associated Press, 2010-OCT-11, at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/
- Adam Lisberg, et al., "Tea Party hero Carl Paladino rages against 'disgusting' gay pride parades," New York Daily News, 2010-OCT-11, at: http://www.nydailynews.com/
- Poll results, New York Daily News, at: http://www.nydailynews.com/
- "Republican candidate in storm over gay remarks," Associated Press, 2010-OCT-14, Toronto Star, Page A29.
- "Paladino Faces Backlash Over Controversial Comments About Homosexuality," Personal Liberty Digest, 2010-OCT-18, at: http://www.personalliberty.com/
Copyright © 2010 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2010-OCT-12
Latest update: 2010-OCT-18
Author: B.A. Robinson