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Gays say Addabbo betrayed their trust

The LGBT community and state Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) are in dispute over whether he said he supported gay marriage during his 2008 election.

Addabbo has said he never discussed his personal beliefs or how he would vote on gay marriage in the Senate during his campaign against then Sen. Serphin Maltese (R-Glendale).

Activists from the LGBT group Queer Rising disrupted Addabbo’s birthday party in South Richmond Hill last month for what the organization contended was the senator’s betrayal of the gay community for his no-vote on gay marriage.

An LGBT activist said Dan Jacoby, who is straight but attends meetings organized by LGBT Democratic clubs, asked Addabbo if he supported gay marriage during a 2008 meeting of the group Queens Democracy for America and Addabbo said he was in favor of marriage equality.

Jacoby could not be reached for comment.

Addabbo said he did not recall taking that position, but recently asked two people who attended that meeting about what he said back then.

He said one person said he told the group he supported marriage equality, but the senator said he did not think that is what he said because he was “still grappling with the issue” at that time.

He said another attendee told him he danced around the issue.

“That seems more consistent with my position as a candidate,” Addabbo said of the second explanation.

Queer Rising estimated Addabbo received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the LGBT community for his race against Maltese because gays were under the impression Addabbo would vote for gay marriage.

No LGBT political action committees or groups donated to the senator’s campaign and it is impossible to determine which LGBT individuals gave to Addabbo.

But a Queer Rising member said billionaire software entrepreneur Tim Gill of Colorado, who supports candidates who back LGBT issues, donated to Addabbo.

Campaign finance records showed Gill contributed $9,500 to the senator’s campaign.

Addabbo explained his no-vote on gay marriage, which he cast in the Senate earlier this year, by saying his constituents were in strong opposition to marriage equality.

He said 74 percent of the correspondence sent to his office indicated they did not want gay marriage to pass.

Queer Rising was also responsible for crashing former Sen. Hiram Monserrate’s Christmas Party over his no-vote on gay marriage.

But the group said Addabbo’s vote was the most hurtful to the LGBT community because they believed they could count on him to vote for gay marriage.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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