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Rudolph W. Giuliani was asked Sunday on the NBC program “Meet the Press” if he agreed with the statement made in 1992 by a rival for the Republican presidential nomination, Mike Huckabee, about homosexuality being “an aberrant, unnatural, and sinful lifestyle.”

“No,” Mr. Giuliani replied. “I don’t believe it’s sinful.” But he then said something that puzzled and concerned some gay rights groups.

“My moral views on this come from the, you know, from the Catholic Church, and I believe that homosexuality, heterosexuality, as a way that somebody leads their life is not, isn’t sinful,” said Mr. Giuliani, who as New York mayor temporarily moved in with two gay roommates after he separated from his wife. “It’ the acts – it’s the various acts that people perform that are sinful, not the orientation that they have.”

Mr. Giuliani added: “I’ve had my own sins that I’ve had to confess.”

Wayne Besen, the executive director of Truth Wins Out, a gay rights group, said that he hoped the campaign would clarify the statement, which he said “seemed to parrot the religious right’s cruel and empty ‘love the sinner, hate the sin’ rhetoric.”

The Giuliani campaign declined yesterday to elaborate on the statement.

Patrick Sammon, the president of the Log Cabin Republicans, a group of gay Republicans that has taken out advertisements criticizing another Republican candidate, Mitt Romney, said of Mr. Giuliani, “His record and his comments speak for themselves.”