Equality

Carl Kruger Supports Gay Rights After Death

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It turns out Carl Kruger, one of the few Democrats in the State Senate to vote against same-sex marriage (and the only one from Brooklyn) is willing to have the state extend the legal rights married couples enjoy to same-sex partnerships after all. Unfortunately, one of the partners has to die first.

Kruger (D-Mill Basin) told the Brooklyn Paper this week that he would support a bill requiring employers — including, presumably, government employers — who provide funeral or bereavement leaves to married couples to allow them to same-sex couples in a “committed, same-sex relationship” — something he calls “a right.”

The bill, sponsored by fellow Brooklyn state senator Velmanette Montgomery (D-Boerum Hill) would amend the state civil rights law as follows:

S 79-N. FUNERAL OR BEREAVEMENT LEAVE. NO EMPLOYER WHO EXTENDS TO ITS EMPLOYEES FUNERAL OR BEREAVEMENT LEAVE FOR THE DEATH OF AN EMPLOYEE’S SPOUSE OR THE CHILD, PARENT OR OTHER RELATIVE OF THE SPOUSE SHALL DENY THE SAME LEAVE TO AN EMPLOYEE FOR THE DEATH OF THE EMPLOYEE’S SAME-SEX COMMITTED PARTNER OR THE CHILD, PARENT OR OTHER RELATIVE OF THE COMMITTED PARTNER. FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, SAME-SEX COMMITTED PARTNERS ARE THOSE WHO ARE FINANCIALLY AND EMOTIONALLY INTERDEPENDENT IN A MANNER COMMONLY PRESUMED OF SPOUSES.

Kruger still, he says, opposes gay marriage. And this, he said after he voted against it, is why:

The community that comprises the 27th District in southern Brooklyn — the community I represent — has made its views on same-sex marriage known to me in no uncertain terms. They have done this through the hundreds of letters that have poured into my office, the thousands of phone calls I have received and the countless people who have stopped me on the street to tell me what they think. The vast majority of people have voiced their opposition to the idea of legalizing same-sex marriage.

Our American government was crafted to function as a representative government. Fifteen years ago, when I voted in support of the death penalty, I was mindful of this fact. We are elected to serve the voters — those who entrusted us with the mission of advocating for their best interests. It is my belief that the overriding sentiment of the district must merit my utmost attention and respect.

Could be that there’s been an equal outpouring of calls and letters from the 27th District supporting an unfunded state mandate for recognizing same-sex partnerships legally. It seems more likely, though, that Kruger’s a little nervous about Fight Back New York, a PAC founded by a gay marriage supporter to defeat enough anti-marriage Senators to shift the balance in the Senate.

Fight Back New York’s “Target #1” was former State Senator Hiram Monserrate. They’re currently brainstorming their next targets.

Following the March 16th special election, Fight Back New York will engage in a strategic examination of the political landscape and–together with allies and partners — determine where to channel its significant energies and resources in the rest of the 2010 New York election cycle.

Fight Back New York, which refers to itself as “a single-purpose entity that hopes to go out of business on November 3, 2010,” endorses the Empire State Pride Agenda as “the leading LGBT advocacy organization in the state.” The Empire State Pride Agenda is a long-time supporter of amending state civil rights laws to guarantee LGTB couples bereavement leave.

Fight Back New York says they’re willing to eliminate no votes by “changing hearts and minds” instead. Could be that Kruger’s noticed.