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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. Addabbo proved that he was NOT a gettable vote. I'm tired of apologists and critics of the movement.

    He needs to be defeated. The LGBT community needs to strongly fund his challenger.

    Posted by: RC in Brooklyn | Dec 4, 2009 3:42:15 PM

  2. Hello asshole, anyone can call your office and say their opposed from anywhere in the world. There is NO way 74% of "your district" called you that's how dense you are. And BTW the 23k you got from gay groups last year will most certainly increase in 2010 to oust your ass to the cheers of civil rights proponents.

    Try leading instead of being lead, disgusting. This is why NOM is laughing their asses off, they hire guns in straight drag to scare you and you actually believe it's true. You are clueless!

    Posted by: Warren | Dec 4, 2009 3:46:02 PM

  3. 24PLAY, thanks for calling me naive. :)

    'Addabbo was a gettable vote and we failed to do the work to secure that vote.' Note the "we" in that statement. This is classic battered wife syndrome. 'He hit me because I deserved it, but if I'm good he won't hit me no more'.

    I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR GETTING OTHERS TO BELIEVE I AM EQUAL TO THEM. The constitution is designed to secure and protect my rights, no matter how 'insane' it is politically to expect that.

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

  4. RC,

    First we have to find a challenger to Addabbo's left. Then we have to help him win the Democratic primary in a district that includes Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village and parts of South Ozone Park, Ridgewood, Rego Park and Sunnyside.

    The heart of that district is Archie Bunker territory. Before Addobbo, it was represented by vocally anti-gay fossil Serphin Maltese for 9 terms.

    We've got our work cut out for us. Which is why we've got to keep one eye on the possibility that Addobbo keeps his seat and we'll need to persuade him to vote for us next time.

    Posted by: 24play | Dec 4, 2009 3:50:40 PM

  5. "...i didn't indicate either way..."

    This is ridiculous & listening to his doublespeak is transparently bull. He knew far before that he would have voted no. Why wait & do it this way?

    Posted by: ED2 | Dec 4, 2009 3:54:30 PM

  6. Every gay person and equality ally in his district should have contacted him by phone, letter, e-mails etc. to voice their support for a yes vote on marriage. That's our responsibility. That said, legislators are supposed to do more than base their votes on the whims of the majority, particularly on civil rights issues. They are supposed to also have a conscience and a sense of what's right and a sense of history. They are supposed to stand up for justice.

    "this transcends the idea of equal rights . . . " What the hell does that mean? His statement is pure gobbledygook. Either you believe in civil marriage equality or you don't. Take a stand, Senator. Your constituents will come around, and if they don't, you will be on the right side of history. My greatest respect goes out to politicians who stick their necks out for equality because they know it's the right thing to do. I've met them (during our VT vote) so I know it's possible, but Sen. Addabbo seems not to be in this league, yet.

    Posted by: Ernie | Dec 4, 2009 4:08:12 PM

  7. It seems like a lot of attention has been spent on Monseratte, Addabbo and Kruger. New Yorkers shouldn't stop there. Where's the backlash against Huntley, who was once quote as saying something like "I wouldn't vote for this if you gave me a million dollars tax free"? The more of these politicians that are "outed" as bigots in the next week, the better, so that their counterparts in New Jersey can see what happens when you smack the LGBT community in the face.

    Posted by: Bruno | Dec 4, 2009 4:14:14 PM

  8. aren't some of his constituents homosexual?

    Posted by: John Normile | Dec 4, 2009 4:25:46 PM

  9. Here's his official statement that he emailed people after his vote :

    "Thank You for contacting my office. Below is my statement regarding my vote on marriage equality.

    'This is a sensitive issue to many of my residents and the decision-making process for me has been a tough one, considering all the opinions I've heard from inside and outside of my district. During the past several months, I've kept an open mind on the issue and heard from so many of my constituents both pro and con on the issue. Some 70% of the people in my district told me that to vote "no" today was the way they overwhelmingly wanted me to cast my vote.

    I have always believed that I work for my people and I am their respective voice in Albany. My constituents weighed in strongly with their opinions to my office and with my vote today, they know I've heard them and they assisted me in making my decision.'

    As a resident of Ozone Park I am outraged. Really wanna make an impact? Head over to his house in Tudor Village to show that the gay community exists in Southern Queens.

    Posted by: Allan in NYC | Dec 4, 2009 4:52:23 PM

  10. This is complete rubbish. First I live in that district, and while it is fair to say it has more conservative voters than his City Council District it is not nearly as conservative as people think. The District is evolving, which is a big reason why the Republican got voted out. Plus the district reaches North into more liberal Forest Hills and Rego Park where I live, so that is not as much a part of the story as he would like peole to think.

    Secondly, his claim is rather badly logically flawed. Given his votes on the City Council and the significant support he received and accepted from the LGBT community when he ran for the Senate, many people were likely to consider his vote a safe one and not feel it necessary to call him [a mistake that I hope we do not repeat in the future]. Whereas, opponents to the bill would have been motivated to call him in an attempt to "change" his mind. So of course the majoirty of people calling him opposed the bill, but that in no way equates with the idea that a majority of his constituency opposed the bill.

    Further, there are 300,000 people in the district. He has made reference in other statements to just some 400 letters he received from constituents. This is a hot topic that has received a lot of press yet despite his known favorable LGBT voting record, 99.87% of his consitutency did not feel motivated enough to lobby him to voter "no." So he can hardly claim a mandate for his vote based on the supposed wishes of his "constituency."

    Lastly as so many have pointed out, this is just a failure of leadership and betrayal of those who have supported him in the past. Women would not have the right to vote, Jim Crow Laws would still be on the books and forget the Civil Rights Acts if legislators limited themselves to an automatic, unthinking compliance with the expressed wishes of their constituencies. When deciding whether or not to build a highway through the middle of town you listen to the majority; when deciding fundamental questions of civil rights you listen to the Constitution and you make logic and legally based policy decisions. You do not allow yourself to be ruled by the ignorance and bigotry of the majority. We would all still be thinking the bloody world was flat if that wasn't true.

    Posted by: Peter | Dec 4, 2009 5:03:47 PM

  11. Out of those supposed 400 calls, 398 were probably directly from NOM flacks. It's just an excuse from Addabbo. You can bet Addabbo got the call many others did from NOM saying "if you vote 'yes," we're gonna pour our mysteriously big money [cough, cough, Mormons, cough, cough] into defeating you." Basically, Addabbo let himself be blackmailed.

    I hate to keep sounding like a broken record, but NOM is mostly a front for the Mormon leadership. If we want this to stop, we have to make it clear to the Mormons that if they don't cut it out, we're going to start making sure the spotlight is nationally shined on issues THEY really don't want to talk about, not just on us.

    So while they're pouring money into trying to deny us our rights, we'll just pour our time and money into a little unwanted Mormon history lesson for the rest of the country. How 'bout we start with their history on race?

    Posted by: bobbyjoe | Dec 4, 2009 5:40:01 PM

  12. Unbelievable. Just completely UNBELIEVABLE. I like how his voice gets all trembly as the guy on the radio calls him out.

    Posted by: Burning Rage | Dec 4, 2009 6:09:39 PM

  13. Peter:

    Excellent post, but Addabo actually claimed to have received 400 communications in toto. 300 of those urged him to vote no, and 100 urged a yes vote. So the percentage of constituents urging a no vote is even less than the .13% you mention above.

    Also worth noting is that the area comprising his senatorial district is also represented by 4 assemblymen. 3 out of those 4 voted "yes".

    To the troll trying to justify this vote on the grounds that Addabo represents "Archie Bunker" country: that cultural reference is 35 years old. The demographics of entire borough of Queens has changed multiple times since the early 1970s. Some of the areas in his district, including Sunnyside, are quite liberal.

    Posted by: Jon | Dec 4, 2009 6:34:14 PM

  14. This guy is pathetic. On many of the great 'conscience' issues in history, he probably would have voted in favor of slavery, against voting rights for women, and against US entry into WW II if that's what "74% of his district" wanted him to do. It's interesting that in his 18 minutes of BS on the WNYC interview, not once did he even admit that the vote on same-sex marriage should have been a "conscience" vote -- he couldn't admit that because he clearly has no conscience. One could have respected his NO vote (and soundly criticized it) if it was based on "conscience" -- but he is an example of the worst of politicians whose primary goal is to get himself re-elected, even if it means sacrificing his "conscience". Let's hope he loses re-election, but even if he doesn't, his "reward" for his vote will be that history, including his children and grandchildren, will view his vote AND HIS EXPLANATION as a "Profile in Cowardice".

    Posted by: MiddleOfTheRoader | Dec 4, 2009 7:04:53 PM

  15. Someone should do a mashup of this guy's speech mixed with that Teen Miss America's answer to the question about geography in which she went on at length (and without making an ounce of sense) about the need to give everyone maps.

    Posted by: peterparker | Dec 4, 2009 9:01:12 PM

  16. This guy would vote for torturing puppies if the majority of his constituents wanted it. What a jerk.

    Posted by: x | Dec 4, 2009 10:00:05 PM

  17. if the majority of people in his district endorsed lynching, would he go along?

    Posted by: gwd3rd | Dec 5, 2009 12:33:05 AM

  18. @Bruno

    While I agree that Shirley Huntley should be primaried if that's feasible, at least we knew where she stood pretty much from the get go (that million dollar quote is months old).

    Posted by: Chitown Kev | Dec 5, 2009 9:31:14 AM

  19. He should sell cars for a living.

    Posted by: Christopher Pagan | Dec 5, 2009 9:52:21 AM

  20. Bullshit! Vote this asshole out of office! Goddam traitor!

    Posted by: jamal49 | Dec 5, 2009 11:46:32 AM

  21. Addabbo is a traitor who has received thousands in gay money during his campaigns.

    I am targeting these traitors in my blog one-by-one.

    In his case, I have links to the money he has gotten, and his contact info, including a link to his facebook page:

    Posted by: leliorisen | Dec 5, 2009 4:04:22 PM

  22. You come and bring it homo's I have no repsect for any man who sucks cock.
    Joe Addabbo is the last reall good politician left in this shitty pathetic liberal scum of a city filled with dumb niggers, queers, and waste of life. Once a He's out of off office. All decent hardworking normalpeople with common sense will be gone from this city and off to Places down south where common sense thrives. It will be the end of what once was a proud normal city and the beginning of a third world setpic tank non english speaking crime ridden city with all you dumb liberal shitheads crying for the old days to come back when your getting mugged on the streets by the same people you let in. God bless america gold bless old New York for what it once was. Fuck alla fuck muslims fuck democrats fuck republicans fuck liebrals fuck the HOMO'S.
    p.s. fuck all queers who are scared of voicing there opinions this in the colored neighborhoods where there equally hated

    Posted by: Ronnie Bush | Dec 6, 2009 4:55:12 AM

  23. Let me tell you how full of it Joe Addabbo is I live next door to him and he told me he would vote yes. 74% that is a laugh. He was suppose to come next door to all our houses last night and see the kids dressed as Santa he by passed my house for the first time I guess gay people don't even deserve to take a picture with a lying Santa.

    Posted by: donna | Dec 20, 2009 5:32:53 PM

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