Cuomo Slams Rabbi Who Claims Sandy Was God's Revenge For Gay Marriage
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has denounced Rabbi Noson Leiter, who made news earlier this week with his claim that Hurricane Sandy was God's retribution upon the state for legalizing same-sex marriage.
“The comments made by Rabbi Noson Leiter that sought to link the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy to our state’s embrace of marriage equality are as offensive as they are ignorant,” Mr. Cuomo said. “This catastrophic storm claimed the lives of more than forty New Yorkers. This kind of hateful rhetoric has no place in our public discourse, and is particularly distasteful in times of tragedy.” Governor Cuomo went on to demand an apology from the rabbi. “Our state is proud to offer equal rights to all our citizens, and we will never tolerate the use of a tragedy like Hurricane Sandy to promote a divisive and bigoted agenda,” he said. “I call on Rabbi Leiter to apologize immediately for his hurtful comments.”Leiter is supporting GOP state Senate candidate Neil DeCarlo, who is working (with NOM's help) to unseat Sen. Stephen Saland, one of the four Republicans who voted in favor of New York's marriage bill. GOP former Gov. George Pataki has also denounced Rabbi Leiter and has demanded that DeCarlo distance himself.
Pataki called on fellow Republican Neil DiCarlo — who is running on the Conservative Party line for a state Senate seat from the Hudson Valley — to denounce the remarks of Rabbi Noson Leiter. DiCarlo opposes gay marriage, and the orthodox rabbi made the statements in support of his third-party candidacy. “It’s simply incomprehensible that anyone could attribute the devastation and loss of life caused by Hurricane Sandy to divine retribution against the New York State legislature,” Pataki railed. “It’s like blaming America’s belief in freedom for the attacks of Sept. 11,” Pataki added. Pataki argued that because Leiter’s remarks were made in support of DiCarlo, the candidate “has a responsibility to repudiate them.” Reached by phone, DiCarlo refused to take that step when asked repeatedly. He instead questioned Pataki’s motives. “Ask Mr. Pataki why he endorsed my opponent, and why he is bringing this up two days before the election — and then I’ll answer your question,” DiCarlo said before hanging up.