the m-word

NY Sen. Joseph Addabbo Didn’t Promise You Anything on Marriage

It’s not like New York State Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr. promised to support gay marriage. He just said he would keep an open mind — while accepting $9,500 from gay philanthropist Tim Gill and other LGBT supporters. And, as Sen. Tom Duane’s outrage suggests, he indicated to Daune that he’d be backing it before voting no. But what’s that supposed to mean, yo?

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“I guess I would be a defector if, at some point, whether it being my campaign last year or at any point this year, I would’ve said, ‘Yes, I was going to vote for the marriage equality bill,’ but at no point did I ever say yes,” he says in an interview. “It was my intention to keep an open mind … to get a clear understanding where my district stands on this issue.” As Addabbo notes, he represents a conservative Queens district, and no amount of pressure — or name calling — from groups like the Empire State Pride Agenda was enough. Nor any amount of reminders that he used to support gay rights while sitting on the NYC City Council.

What Addabbo refuses to do, however, is acknowledge marriage equality is a civil rights issue. The debate “is different for everyone. … I could see that argument … on many levels.” He also refuses to say publicly whether he thinks gay marriage should be legal.

So while Addabbo says he kept an open mind on the issue, so, too, did we keep an open mind about Addabbo’s qualifications to represent New Yorkers. But now, our mind is made up.

(NB: Bizarrely, while we’re furious with Addabbo’s vote, we respect the senator for so quickly responding to the criticism, including during this presser.)