On The Issues Part 4: Social Issues Dominate Campaign For Governor
Whether it's abortion, the death penalty or immigration, there are vast differences between the two leading candidates for governor, Democrat Andrew Cuomo and Republican Carl Paladino. In the final report of his series, NY1's Josh Robin looks at social issues in the race for Albany.
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The economy and ethics may be on voters' mind, but this election season New Yorkers have also been hearing a lot about social issues, like teaching kids about homosexuality.
"I don't want them to be brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid or successful option. It isn't," said Republican gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino as he addressed orthodox Jews in Brooklyn on October 10.
Paladino has since apologized for those remarks, but his opposition to same-sex marriage has not changed.
Cuomo backs gay marriage but Paladino supports civil unions.
As for abortion, Paladino is resolutely opposed.
On September 15, when Paladino was asked on "Inside City Hall" whether he opposed abortion in cases of incest or rape, he responded, "Yes, the child can be adopted."
He also insists he will not try to change the state's abortion laws if elected, but Cuomo says he's not convinced.
"A woman's right to choose will win this election in November," said Cuomo on October 8.
Cuomo supports current abortion laws. Paladino is opposed to the procedure, except when the life of the mother is endangered.
Medical marijuana is another hot-button topic this year. Cuomo is opposed.
"A lot of things can raise revenues. Legalizing prostitution can raise revenues, and I'm against that too," said Cuomo on October 24.
For the record, Paladino is against legalizing prostitution, but says he would leave the issue of medicinal marijuana to a voters' referendum.
Then there's the death penalty. No one in New York has been executed since 1963 and in 2004, the state's highest court struck down the existing death penalty law.
Paladino favors the death penalty, but Cuomo opposes it, no exceptions.
"I'm against the death penalty, period," said Cuomo on October 25.
Lastly, there's the issue of immigration, which is especially relevant in a state where a full fifth of residents is estimated to be foreign-born. The pair could not be more different.
When Paladino was asked on October 26, whether he would advise undocumented immigrants to leave this state, he said "Yup, as fast as they can."
Paladino says as governor, New York would enforce federal laws, but insists he would not racially profile.
Cuomo says he would defer to the federal government for action and instructions on immigration.