Why do our closeted gay politicians continue to actively work against us? That question should bother many who are still pondering the bizarre bribery and corruption case of New York State Senator Carl Kruger. The Brooklyn Democrat was "outed" during an FBI wire tap in March. Yesterday, Kruger, 62, pleaded guilty to bribery charges (he was alleged to have pocketed over $1 million to fund his lavish lifestyle with the men in his life), so that he wouldn't have to pull his apparent lover—50-year-old gynecologist Michael S. Turano—through the mud and reveal more intimate details.
Although a story in the New York Times today, titled "After Resigning, Tearful Senator Pleads Guilty to Accepting Bribes," reiterates that Kruger "has said he is not gay," it also includes details from the FBI case, such as "the agent said that a wiretap, which captured the men in nearly daily contact, revealed that they 'sometimes spoke to one another in baby talk.' " And that Kruger "would weep uncontrollably as he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge a few minutes later." So the Times won't say he's gay, but Kruger is CERTAINLY a cry baby, right?
The usually incendiary New York Post went so far as to call Turano, the man who "laundered" the money for the "garish mansion," Kruger's "partner." So to them, they're just a bunch of tasteless gays who want to drive a Bentley and live in a former mobster manse (see the Times timeline for even more details of the shenanigans).
As the Brooklyn Paper reported in a piece from June of this year, titled "Outed Kruger now says gay marriage is OK," the New York State legislator voted against same-sex nuptials in 2009, but changed his mind after the the FBI intel, although he still didn't admit he was gay.
The Times piece seemed to enjoy the weird details, such as the fact that "Dr. Turano told Mr. Kruger that his brother Gerard’s feelings toward the senator changed after the senator told Gerard Turano that the senator was attracted to Michael Turano since they met at the Thomas Jefferson Club, a Brooklyn Democratic bastion: 'from the day I walked into the T—you told me this—the TJ [Thomas Jefferson] club, you loved me and you wanted me.'" But they couldn't state that he was a closeted gay politician outright.
As out-and-proud gay State Senator Tom Duane told us in an interview when we photographed him earlier this year for the Out100, "The challenge remains to come out all the time. It's something we all must do in our personal and professional lives—come out every day and not shy away from it."
The problem of closeted politicians—both identified as gay or those who simply are men who have sex with men (think Larry Craig)—remains an insidious problem. There are still closeted politicians in the New York State legislature (some of them also accused of corruption but still supporting gay rights), although it's probably one of the most accepting places to be an out politico.
The fact that there remains this seedy underbelly of bribery and chicanery fueled by shame of one's innate nature and need to be with the ones we love seems like an outdated storyline, but one that we are continually confronted with.