State Sen. Carl Kruger has come out — for gay marriage.
The embattled legislator, who voted against same-sex nuptials in 2009, but was outed by the FBI earlier this year for having a loving relationship with a male housemate, said he’ll vote for gay marriage when it’s brought to the Senate floor this week.
Not that he’s admitting he’s gay, or anything. He just changed his mind.
“My vote comes not as an outgrowth of media attacks or picketing outside my home or political pressure, but due to a better understanding of the impact that this bill will have on the rights of countless New Yorkers,” Kruger (D–Brighton Beach) said on Monday. “There’s been a learning curve, but I now believe in my heart that if you’re going to advocate for equality and justice, you have to do so in all of its many manifestations.”
Kruger claims he’s always been in favor of extending marriage rights to any couple that “shares the same roof,” but voted against same-sex marriage in 2009 because his conservative constituency wanted him to.
He paid a price: several gay advocate groups held a rally at Kruger’s home after his “No” vote, but then — knowing the apparent truth about Kruger — went to the multi-million dollar Mill Island home where Kruger lives with his alleged lover, Michael Turano, and his mom, Community Board 18 District Manager Dorothy Turano, whom many believed was Kruger’s “beard.”
But within two years, everything was out in the open.
As the FBI arrested Kruger in March for allegedly pocketing close to $1 million in bribes, investigators outlined in painstaking detail a personal relationship with Michael Turano, who was arrested for setting up the shell companies where the bribes were funneled to.
Kruger wouldn’t say if his decision to vote for same sex marriage was linked to his outing, but gay marriage advocates aren’t looking a gift horse in the mouth.
“I’m not going to speculate on his motivations,” said Matthew McMorrow, president of the Lambda Independent Democrats, Brooklyn’s leading gay political group. “I’m just happy that he came to the conclusion that he should vote the right way.”
Kruger was the only Senate Democrat to vote against same sex marriage in 2009. State Sen. Marty Golden (R-Bay Ridge) also voted against the measure, and will vote against it again.
Two Queens state senators who had voted against gay marriage switched sides with Kruger on Monday, as did seven Senate Republicans, giving gay and lesbian advocates hope that the measure will pass this week.
The measure passed the Assembly by an 89-52 vote in 2009, though Assemblymembers Peter Abbate (D–Dyker Heights), Bill Colton (D–Bensonhurst), Steve Cymbrowitz (D–Sheepshead Bay), Dov Hikind (D–Borough Park) and Nick Perry (D–Flatbush) opposed it.