After being one of only two Brooklyn state senators to vote against gay marriage in 2009, being outed by the FBI, criticized for his stance by Sheepshead Bites and numerous protests in front of his home and district office – beleaguered State Senator Carl Kruger has switched up his vote on gay marriage, now supporting same-sex nuptials in New York State.
Of course, the local pol who represents one of the most conservative districts in the city said none of the above had anything to do with his change of heart.
“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 to countless New Yorkers,” Kruger said in a press release. “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 joined a handful of other state senators who previously opposed gay marriage, pledging to give their support to a same-sex marriage bill that could be voted on as early as this afternoon.
According to the New York Times:
Thirty-one members of the 62-seat Senate have now publicly backed the legislation, including two Republicans who have emerged in recent days to say they would vote for same-sex marriage. The Republican-controlled chamber, where gay marriage was defeated two years ago by a wide margin, is seen as the last obstacle to the measure, which is strongly supported by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a first-term Democrat, and has passed the Democratic-controlled state Assembly several times before.
Republican senators met for four hours Wednesday to discuss the marriage issue, and, as they emerged, they said they had not reached a consensus about bringing the bill to a vote.
Of course, Kruger’s saying he has always been on the side of gay couples, stating that marriage rights should extend to any couple that “shares the same roof,” but he voted against same-sex marriage in 2009 because his conservative constituency wanted him to.
With Kruger heading to court to face corruption charges in January, it could simply be a last ditch effort to do the right thing before he finds himself out of office. Or maybe his constituents simply changed their minds.
Wait, no, that’s not it. The political backbone of Kruger’s district has long been the Orthodox Jewish community, and apparently they’re outraged over the potential passage of this bill. Agudeth Israel of America – an umbrella group representing Hasidic Jewish interests – sent out an “urgent legislative alert” to get supporters to put an end to this “pernicious legislation”:
It now appears that the New York State Legislature is poised to vote, probably this week, on a bill that would legalize same-gender marriage. This bill is both morally and legally unacceptable, and could lead to serious negative consequences. Several Agudath Israel askonim are currently in Albany, conveying these concerns to key legislators, but it is important that Albany hears from our grassroots constituency as well.
The battleground for this legislation is likely to be in the New York State Senate.
The alert then urged readers to lobby state senators and Senate leaders.
But what of their support for Kruger given his new-found tolerance? Well, we’re not so sure how much they can complain. Senator Kruger has steered nearly $100,000 in member items to Agudeth Israel (and probably hundreds of thousands more if other Orthodox Jewish interests are taken into account) over the years, making him one of their most frequent – and profitable – supporters in the State Senate.
Bensonhurst Bean: After Being ‘Outed’ Kruger Changes Tune On Same-Sex Marriage