Rudolph Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City and potential Republican presidential candidate for 2012, came out with a confusing reaction to the State of New York’s recent decision to legalize same-sex marriage.

One the one hand, the ex-Mayor said he is happy that the “burden of discrimination” on homosexuals has been lifted, but reiterated that he is opposed to same-sex marriage.

He told the local NBC affiliate in New York: I'm glad the people that felt discriminated against had that sort of burden of discrimination lifted. I still favor marriage as being defined between a man and a woman but I completely understand what people are striving for. But I was very glad to see people relieved of this burden of discrimination, which is a terrible thing to feel.

In the past, however, Giuliani was quite a proponent of gay equality. While he was Mayor, he endorsed various gay rights causes and even marched in gay pride marches. He openly called for the Republican Party to seek to broaden its base by appealing more to gays and lesbians.

After his second marriage dissolved, he temporarily moved in with a gay couple.

Giuliani also praised current New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who championed the gay marriage bill.

Cuomo deserves a lot of credit. Even if you don't agree with the result, it showed a lot of leadership to execute the result. For the first time in a long time, we're seeing leadership at the gubernatorial level in New York, including expenses and a lot of systematic control of government and I think that's a good sign for a lot of other things the governor can do.