What Does Mayor Bloomberg Think of Paladino's Gay-Bashing?

Earlier today, we looked at the fascinating path Carl Paladino's views on America's gay population have taken over the last day or so. The mayor of our fair city has not, up until this point, weighed in on the various things that make no sense that have come out of Carl Paladino's mouth, like the aforementioned remarks. Until now.

The Wall Street Journal's Metropolis blog got a quote from Mayor Bloomberg today at the Columbus Day Parade. While he's still being cagey -- given his record for speaking out on civil rights issues and his previous endorsement of Paladino's opposition, Andrew Cuomo, curiously so -- this is certainly more than nothing:

Paladino's speech deriding gays is "not what America stands for and it's not what New York stands for, and I won't dignify it with anything else," Bloomberg said Monday before marching in the Columbus Day Parade on Fifth Avenue

...Asked if Paladino is fit to serve, Bloomberg replied, "I don't think I want to dignify comments like he's made, and I'll leave it at that." The mayor also deflected a question about whether he believes the GOP nominee is running wild: "You know, there's got to be other things here. I don't want to get involved in this race."

...While some elected officials have denounced Paladino's comments as dangerous, arguing that those types of remarks fuel anti-gay violence, the mayor avoided making that link. "We have the right to speak freely, say anything you want. And sometimes the First Amendment permits people to say things that I personally don't agree with and find distasteful or worse," he said.

Ah, but that's not all. Azi Paybarah at WNYC notes that in a speech to PFLAG (or: Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) tonight that was already released by his press office, Bloomberg makes what appears to be another indirect reference to Paladino:

"There are moments when that is challenged -- when some argue for closing, rather than opening doors...for closing, rather than opening our hearts. But I am confident that will never happen -- in part, because of your energy and advocacy."

There's still something to be said for Mayor Bloomberg's extreme caution in weighing in on the issue. Is it because he genuinely doesn't want to drag his own office into a war of words? Or is it to hedge any potential risk in the (doomsday) scenario that Paladino actually gets elected? Whatever the reason, Bloomberg's being cagey, but still managing to send messages on the issue -- one he clearly cares about -- out into the open.

[fkamer@villagevoice.com]


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