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.

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  • Sam

    I spent a week in Queens last year, volunteering to elect this asshole. If someone in his district wants to challenge him in the primary (or a pro-equality Republican in the general) I will put in TEN TIMES the effort to defeat him.

    This is personal now, Joe. You took my support then slapped me and my family in the face. I want nothing more than to take you down, you lying, hypocritical, two-faced sack of shit.

  • Travis

    Take it a step further – say that even if a politician supports “gay rights” it doesn’t mean he thinks we’re equal. And what’s more, let’s be honest – if a politician doesn’t believe we’re equal, all the phone calls in the world aren’t going to do much good.

    Then you can start to look at his district…

  • AndrewW

    According to LGBT “conventional wisdom,” the people in his District didn’t make enough phone calls or send enough emails. Next time, you better organize a March and make angry demands – that will change their votes.

  • Bill

    AndrewW is an idiot.

    But that isn’t really news.

  • Charlie

    No Democratic candidate can escape the truth that the number one issue for the LGBT community is Marriage Equality, and when you go before us, and say that you support us, and then vote against us on our most important issue – how are you our friend? How have you supported us?
    Political expediency will weigh in, and his LGBT constituents will be warned in the next election that if you don’t support him, some big bad ugly Republican will take his place – well, better the devil that you know than the one trust and betrays you.
    Easy for me to say because I don’t live in Queens, but if I did, I would actively work for any candidate that opposes him and would stand with huge signs announcing his betrayal outside of every fundraiser he holds.

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