sen. addabbo

What This NY Democrat’s “No On Marriage” Vote Teaches Us: Money Doesn’t Buy Support


If there’s one thing to learn from yesterday’s stinging marriage defeat in the New York Senate — aside from learning, again, that elected Democrats are not necessarily progressives — is that money does not buy you a politician’s vote. This is, despite the outcome, a good thing.

Sen. Joe Addabbo, the freshman from Queens, is perhaps the best example. Despite supporting gay rights while a member of NYC’s City Council, and despite receiving the maximum $9,500 campaign contribution from Gill Foundation creator Tim Gill, and despite scoring major financial support from the Democratic State Senate Campaign Committee (which LGBT donors dumped cash into), Addabbo was a “no” vote.

And that’s already got marriage equality leaders aching to bitchslap him. Among ’em: Empire State Pride Agenda executive director Alan Van Capelle, who tells Gay City News, “I think if there is disappointment in a real big way, I think I’m very disappointed in Joe Addabbo. I think Joe Addabbo is better than his vote.”

Which is probably true.

But Addabbo’s stinging “no” vote — which comes after he claims he would maintain an open mind about marriage, but never committing to supporting the bill — is a reminder that no amount of cash can truly secure a lawmaker’s vote. And that’s good.

We don’t want out politicians to be bought.

The entire point of financially supporting a politician is to help elect someone who you think best represents your ideals. It’s not supposed to be an exercise in favor trading, although as local, state, and federal lawmakers prove every session, it often is. What’s sad, though, is lawmakers often appear to feel more pressure to vote the way their corporate donors want them to than their own constituents.

And it means Addabbo is no longer worthy of a single gay penny.