Barron: Paladino is a Sick, Racist, Homophobic Loose Cannon

In the wake of Carl Paladino's assertions before an Orthodox Jewish group that he doesn't want children “to be brainwashed into thinking homosexuality is an equally valid and successful option” and marching in the Gay Pride parade “is not the example that we should be showing our children and certainly not in our schools,” Charles Barron weighed in.

“I think Paladino is a sick, racist, homophobic loose cannon,” said the Freedom Party candidate for Governor.

Barron took the opportunity to explain his own nuanced position on the issue. “I am a strong supporter of civil unions,” Barron said. “I voted positively on all legislation in the City Council regarding civil union and gay rights. I believe homosexuals deserve equal protection under the law, like everyone else.” By contrast, Paladino said “as governor he would veto gay marriage and civil unions.”

Barron's position on gay marriage is somewhat reserved. “My conviction on gay marriage is based on my definition of marriage, which is between a man and a woman.” Barron cautioned that he “would not like to impose my values on the state. Nor would I take a position in opposition to heterosexual marriage.” He added, “I am not going to abandon that position to appease others.”

“People are already living together in civil union. I support that,” he said.

Barron, who has been married to his wife Inez for 27 years said, “Marriage is an institution I hold in high value. I define it as a union of a man and a woman.”

Broadening the topic, Barron offered a criticism of “the gay movement's focus on this singular issue.” Seemingly “Nothing else in the world matters. I don't see them on other civil rights issues as individuals. Nor as a group or coalition of organizations,” he said. “When we die at the hands of police, we don't hear from them.”

When asked that some gays say Blacks don't show up for their issues, Barron said “That is not true. Blacks as a community are all over the map. Black elected officials, individuals and groups support the civil rights of gays and others – Vietnamese, Iraqis, and Indigenous Americans. Throughout history, Blacks have been supportive of others. During the Irish Independence Movement, there was Frederick Douglass and Stokely Carmichael. Yet, when the Irish gay Council Speaker was asked to support the Sonny Carson street re-naming, she refused.”

Barron has another criticism of the gay movement. “I do not like when gays try to compare their movement to the Black movement,” he said. “They were not stolen from their lands, lynched, worked to death, whipped, hung, or had their genitals cut off. They have no comparison to our experience in America. I am supportive of gay rights and civil unions. I am supportive of (white) women's rights. Women have no comparison. The only ones who have a comparative holocaust would be the Indigenous Americans, who are still subjected to oppression.”

If pressed, Barron said he would vote “no” on gay marriage. “If I had a choice, I would not impose my values on the state. But, don't tell me I have to abandon my values. That I am not going to do.”

If gay marriage passed, Barron said he would not fight it. “People can do what they want. I have a lot of gay friends. There are gays in the movement.”

Barron said he has taken progressive stances on other controversial issues. He is pro-choice and opposes the death penalty.

Barron cautioned that these are his personal positions, not the official position of the Freedom Party. He is campaigning on issues “everybody can agree with” – public education, reasonable MTA fairs, a living wage, equitable distribution of income, “and of course I am against stop-and-frisk and police brutality.” The Freedom Party has not had a platform convention, and will not have one before the election. Barron assumes that among the 43,000 signatures obtained by the Freedom Party, there is diversity. Asked if any gay groups participated, Barron replied, “Not that I know of. Everyone is welcome.”

“I am trying to be as open and honest as I can, with the hope that it doesn't hurt anybody,” Barron said. “These are my convictions, and I stand by them.”