The Conservative Republican candidate for governor of New York told Orthodox Jewish leaders that he doesn't want children "brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality" is acceptable.
While Carl Paladino, a multimillionaire developer from Buffalo, has stated that he is opposed to gay marriage, his most recent comments were striking because they came hours after eight people were charged over an attack on a gay man and two gay teenagers in the Bronx on 3 October.
Mr Paladino, who has received strong support from conservative Tea Party activists, made the comments at a Brooklyn synagogue while striking a contrast between himself and his Democratic rival, state attorney general Andrew Cuomo. It was not the first controversy for Mr Paladino, who apologised for forwarding racist and sexist emails early on in his campaign to replace Democratic Governor David Paterson.
Mr Cuomo, a son of former governor Mario Cuomo, leads in the polls in the heavily Democratic state. Mr 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," Mr Paladino said of being gay, "and that's not the example that we should be showing our children".
He skipped a prepared line from his speech at the synagogue: "There is nothing to be proud of in being a dysfunctional homosexual." Mr Paladino said he did not agree with the passage. He said the remarks were suggested by his "hosts at the synagogue".