Joseph Addabbo, a New York state senate Democrat who voted against the marriage equality bill last year, said that even though he received a “ton of money” from gay activists who anticipated his support in return, his vote cannot be bought.
Following the alphabetical order of the senate role call vote last December, Addabbo became the first Democrat to vote against the marriage equality bill. Some claim his vote prompted a domino effect among wavering senators that led to the bill’s 38-24 defeat.
The Addabbo vote came as a surprise to gay activists who had donated thousands to his campaign and volunteered to help him win as part of the Democrats’ 2008 senate takeover. He supported gay rights as a member of the New York City Council, and indicated he was open to voting yes on the marriage equality bill during his senate campaign.
During a debate on NY1’s Inside City Hall on Friday, Addabbo, who represents a conservative district in Queens, said that he would be open to voting yes on the marriage equality bill, provided his constituency supported it. He refused to state his own position on the issue, as he did last year, when he cited constituent opposition as the reason for his no vote.
Near the end of the 21-minute debate, Addabbo and his Republican opponent, Anthony Como, who opposes the bill, seemed to joke about the “ton of money” the Democrat received from gay activists.
“I appreciated all the LGBT community volunteer hours and their financial support, but I can’t be bought,” said Addabbo. “So even though they gave me a ton of money, I can’t be bought. I voted the way my people wanted me to vote.”
“So they gave you a ton of money?” asked Como.
”That’s what they tell me,” said Addabbo.