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Watch: NY Senator Joe Addabbo BS on Marriage Equality 'No' Vote — 'This Transcends The Idea of Equal Rights'


Democratic State Senator Joseph Addabbo BS-ed his way through a press conference at City Hall today regarding when asked about his "no" vote on marriage equality.

Coming early on in the roll call, Addabbo has been seen as the first defector who began the domino effect of "no" votes on the marriage bill. Addabbo insisted that despite his placement early on, he could not have been a leader.

Addabbo said he voted "no" because of his constituents: "To this day, I have kept my personal belief out of it, and it's still personal...It's still a personal belief. It's my belief. But again, it's only my belief. I voted, again, the will of the people in my district."

Asked if the vote goes against his record in the city council, Addabbo added:

"Not at all. Here I truly represented equal rights for all. I still do. You know. But this transcends the idea of equal rights. We could talk about marriage equality on different levels. We could talk about it on a morality level, a religious level, a civil rights level, so there's many levels to that one issue of marriage equality, unlike what we voted on here. So those were totally different issues. And I am proud of the votes here...The fact that the Republicans all voted 'no', and the fact that there were so many Democrats who voted no. There is no way in my estimation, in my opinion, that I could have been a leading, or guiding, or influential vote, even so early in the roll call."


UPDATE: Here, too, is Brian Lehrer's interview with Addabbo on WNYC. Lehrer notes our characterization of Addabbo's vote as "heinous." Listen here:

Press conference:

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  1. I am considering a move to his district just to vote for his primary opponent.

    Posted by: Critifur | Dec 4, 2009 2:08:59 PM

  2. What an SOB. I say back anybody running against this guy.

    Posted by: DTMnyc | Dec 4, 2009 2:11:26 PM

  3. If you really want to nauseate yourself, listen to this slimebucket's interview with Brian Lehrer on

    Posted by: don garden | Dec 4, 2009 2:20:25 PM

  4. This is the gibberish, but one could at least point out that as a senator he was responsible for marriage equality only on the level of civil rights, not of morality or religion—in which responsibility he obviously failed, as well as in the responsibility to explain his actions in something besides gibberish.

    Posted by: Michael S. | Dec 4, 2009 2:24:50 PM

  5. Why is it BS to vote the way a majority of your constituents would like you to vote? Don't we elect legislators to represent our interests? I know I do.

    Yes, it's always preferable for a legislator to do the right thing, particularly when civil rights are on the line. But Addabbo did what you would expect any legislator to do: He voted the way he thought would get him re-elected.

    The fact is, we failed to make the calls, send the emails, and hold the protests necessary to persuade Addabbo that it would be in his best interest to vote for gay marriage. We didn't do the work, and we share the blame for his no vote.

    But Addabbo remains a gettable vote on this issue. So, if mounting a primary challenge from his left fails (and in his district it probably will), we need to do the work next time to change his vote.

    As for whether Addabbo's vote matches his city council voting record, that's immaterial. His senate district is much larger and much more conservative. If we're not complaining that Kirsten Gillibrand made an abrupt left turn—including becoming a relatively outspoken advocate for LGBT rights—after being elevated to the US Senate, we can hardly complain that Addabbo moved to the right on our issues when he began to represent a larger, more conservative senate district.

    Stop whining. Learn something from this defeat. And pledge to do better next time.

    Posted by: 24play | Dec 4, 2009 2:26:53 PM

  6. Defeat the hate, defeat the 8 !!!
    we should make sure all 8 democratic senators that voted NO are defeated in the next election.

    Posted by: sharon | Dec 4, 2009 2:27:42 PM

  7. I would love to hear him explain what he meant by talking about marriage equality on a "morality" level.

    Posted by: BrooklynD | Dec 4, 2009 2:30:50 PM

  8. What a bunch of political gibberish. He makes it sound as if his constituents are overwhelmingly opposed to marriage equality, yet a Marist Poll yesterday showed overwhelming support in NYC.

    If he looks at the issue from the points of view he mentioned -- civil rights, morality, religious -- one should not supersede the other. From a moral and civil rights point of view, there is no reason for him not to vote yes, unless he unwittingly just expressed what he truly feels in his evil heart -- gays and lesbians are "immoral." As for a religious point of view, which religion is he representing? We can all rattle off the names of many faiths and religious leaders who are in favor of marriage equality.

    Addabbo and the other seven Democrats are cowards. Among the Republicans, there was not even one profile in courage. They sold their gay and lesbian constituents out for their own political self-preservation.

    This MUST be remembered during the primaries and general election next year.

    Posted by: Tim | Dec 4, 2009 2:34:51 PM

  9. Another slob and hack and a waste of taxpayer money.

    Posted by: Esther Blodgett | Dec 4, 2009 2:34:56 PM


    Support his primary opponent.

    Posted by: BrooklynRider | Dec 4, 2009 2:38:52 PM

  11. Tim,

    Do you have any poll results from Addabbo's Senate district? I imagine voters in his conservative district are largely opposed to same-sex marriage.

    Posted by: 24play | Dec 4, 2009 2:42:35 PM

  12. Not one penny to the STATE DEMOCRATIC PARTY or County Party....Target individual candidates only and DEFEAT THE HATE 38 of which this Sen. is a proud member of.

    EVERY NYC Democrat who voted NO needs to be targeted and we should make sure our allies are reelected but also make sure these HATE 8 are not given any leadership position within the party or senate.

    And the coward Mike Bloomberg should apologize for his behavior to the LGBT community. ONE AGAIN.

    Posted by: MCnNYC | Dec 4, 2009 2:45:27 PM

  13. I hope we can "transcend" his idea of being a state senator.

    Posted by: David Goroff | Dec 4, 2009 2:46:42 PM

  14. 24Play, thats bullshit.

    It's my fault that I'm not an equal to my neighbors because I have to make the calls to persuade people as such? This kind of attitude is part of the problem, not the solution. Why do I need to pledge to do better next time? I'm on the side that's right because it presents all people as equal. Addabbo is a disgrace to the principals he pretends to represent.

    Elected officials aren't elected to represent the majority of their constituents opinions. If that was the case every issue would be put to a public vote. They are elected to protect the rights, responsibilities and freedoms of ALL the people in their district. We have to stop blaming ourselves for other people's irrational fears and make it known we are taking names and holding people accountable.

    Posted by: James | Dec 4, 2009 2:47:24 PM

  15. Weasel

    Posted by: Mike | Dec 4, 2009 2:48:27 PM

  16. Right on David G.

    Posted by: Eric | Dec 4, 2009 2:50:56 PM

  17. BULL SHIT like everything else coming out of
    new york state senate send this man to the unemployment office and remember this when he shows up looking for money

    Posted by: walter | Dec 4, 2009 2:52:13 PM

  18. i can't bring myself to listening to this guy, so it's without full knowledge of what he said that i'll say i don't give a rat's ass. you're going down bitch.

    Posted by: daftpunkydavid | Dec 4, 2009 2:54:37 PM

  19. If he has a single gay person in his district, then he did not vote for the benefit of everyone in his district. What the majority of people want is not always the best interest for everyone at hand.

    Posted by: Baby Jane | Dec 4, 2009 2:56:50 PM

  20. A compromising picture of Sen. Carl Kruger has emerged along with a letter explaining the circumstances. It was delivered to a friend who writes a non-political blog, but is an out gay man. He is scared to release the photo due to legal repurcussions. He called the Senator's office to see if the Senator would comment on it. The man that answered said that "No, he will not." We have the dirt. My friend is as angry as all of us, but very apprehensive about this situation.

    Posted by: Got the Dirt | Dec 4, 2009 3:00:48 PM

  21. James,

    You seem to be very naive.

    Addabbo was a gettable vote and we failed to do the work to secure that vote.

    If you think the US or NY constitution is going to automatically secure your rights, you're insane. Civil rights must be demanded and fought for.

    Posted by: 24play | Dec 4, 2009 3:01:03 PM

  22. 24PLAY,

    When a politician does the wrong thing it is absolutely necessary to call him out on it. I don't understand the logic behind accommodating an elected official's selfishness -- why not expect better from them?

    And as James said, politicians do not always vote the way of their constituents. They trumpet that ideal when they need political cover, or when their personal beliefs align with their constituents' anyway.

    That aside, this wasn't a simple "no" vote, and that wasn't what was so disgusting about his behavior. What he did wrong, very clearly, was SEEK OUT and then accept endorsements and donations from gay activists and organizations. To do that and lead them on when you have no intention of backing them later is repugnant.

    Posted by: rafi | Dec 4, 2009 3:02:35 PM

  23. Got the dirt, I think your claims are suspect. If your friend had the photos, he'd pull the trigger. Consider you and your "friend's" bluff called.

    This guy advocates for tyranny of the majority. He apparently won by a hair's breadth, and was generously financed by lgbt donors. He is going flames.

    Posted by: TANK | Dec 4, 2009 3:07:52 PM

  24. We're supposedly a constitutional republic, so elected officials can protect our civil rights when their constituents are a bunch of assholes that would steal them from us at the ballot box. That would require bureaucrats to have principles, a backbone, and an understanding of personal liberty though.

    Posted by: Jonathan | Dec 4, 2009 3:18:46 PM

  25. @Tank

    See, that's what I'm talking about.

    He sure liked to take that gay money when it came his way. Granted he took a lot of other money from non-gay sources, of course.

    And damn near every black legislator in the NY State Senate that voted for this bill probably received more "no" calls than "yes" calls; Senate President Malcolm Smith has talked about how his views differ from his pastor's, Floyd Flake's as well as his own constituency. Yet 9 out of 11 black senators voted yes.

    Addabobo's excuse is bullshit. Primary his ass.

    Posted by: Chitown Kev | Dec 4, 2009 3:24:07 PM

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