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Mayor Koch: ‘I’m A Heterosexual’

March 17, 1989

NEW YORK (AP) _ Mayor Edward I. Koch, who has never had trouble speaking his mind, ignored his own vow of silence of the subject of his sexuality and proclaimed: ″I’m a heterosexual.″

And the mayor said Thursday he wouldn’t mind if the topic boosts the sales of his latest book, ″His Eminence and Hizzoner.″

″If you buy that book, you may ultimately be giving a gift to the City of New York, in aggregate, of maybe a million dollars,″ Koch said. ″So, if I have piqued your interest, rush out and buy the book.″

Koch and his co-author, Cardinal John J. O’Connor, are donating their book profits to charities.

The flap began Wednesday night when an interviewer on WMCA radio, discussing the difference between Koch’s and O’Connor’s views on homosexuality, remarked, ″You yourself have been the subject of innuendo.″

″I happen to believe that there’s nothing wrong with homosexuality. It’s whatever God made you. It happens that I’m a heterosexual,″ Koch said.

Koch previously has said that he is not a homosexual and that he once had a girlfriend. But he noted in the current book that he has ″been the subject of scurrilous rumors and gossip in political campaigns.″

In 1977, when he was running for mayor against Mario Cuomo, posters appeared around the city which read, ″Vote for Cuomo, not the Homo.″

He wrote: ″So I took the public position that I would not respond to such an inquiry ever again. People could think whatever they wanted to. My sexuality, just like my religion, is a private matter. I don’t have to account to anyone for it.″

At the news conference, Koch said he had forgotten ″that I had said I would never discuss this subject again. And I never will - as of today.″

When asked whether the statement was intended to remove sexual preference as a potential campaign issue in the next mayoral election, Koch replied, ″That happens to be wrong.″ He had no further comment.

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