Love Letters for Senator Addabbo

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The College Dems held a contentious rally against a member of their own party on Thursday. Bwog’s Senior Love/Hate Correspondent Mahrah Taufique reports.

Despite the slush and chilly weather, the Columbia University College Democrats (CUCD), joined by State Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell, rallied on the steps of Low from 9am to 3pm yesterday for the first event of their Students Advancing Marriage Equality (SAME) campaign. Their aim was to highlight the hypocrisy of State Senator Joe Addabbo, for whom they campaigned in 2008 when his platform included a pro gay-marriage emphasis, but who subsequently rejected marriage equality in December along with 7 other Democratic Senators. The senator’s decision was apparently based on the 75 phone calls he received from people against gay marriage. A massive representation of Senator Addabbo with “WTF” written in angry red letters exemplified the students’ frustration and indignation. The Dems spent the afternoon collecting signatures on paper hearts and petitions – Valentine’s Day messages which are being delivered to Sentator Addabo’s office in Queens today.

UPDATE: Dems Sam Klug and Sean Quirk found Senator Addabo’s office empty on Friday afternoon, so they posted all the valentines signed during Thursday’s event in an innovative way.

Image from CUCD

CUCD President Kate O'Gorman with "Senator Addabbo"

CUCD member Sarah Scheinmann, BC '12

Assemblyman O'Donnell speaking for marriage equality

The speakers began at noon, with Assemblyman O’Donnell delivering a strong worded message aimed at the Democratic Senators who voted against marriage equality. Not one to mince his words, he declared to an enthusiastic crowd, “If you don’t have the values of the Democratic Party, if you don’t have the values of New York, then we are going to get your ass out of Albany.” And the CUCD fully intends to follow through with this threat. Lead Activist Sam Klug, CC’12, told Bwog, “We campaigned for Addabbo before, but if he doesn’t keep his promise and support marriage equality, we will campaign against him.” After his speech, Assemblyman O’Donnell added his own signature to the paper hearts going out to Senator Addabbo.

O’Donnell was followed by a series of impassioned student speakers, including CUCD President Kate O’Gorman, BC ’10, whose message, taking a cue from Obama, was “We will not quit.” She argued that it is not enough to fight for civil unions because “this debate is more than the sum of the 1,324 rights that married couples are afforded in this state. This is about the fundamental vision of our government, of our community.” She called to shame the eight Democrats who rejected marriage equality – Joseph Addabbo, Ruben Diaz, Shirley Huntley, Hiram Monserrate, George Onorato, Carl Kruger, Darrel Aubertine, William Stachowski – politicians who “failed to uphold the rights of their constituents”. “We will not quit holding those who are responsible accountable…we will knock on doors, phone bank, rally, and make sure that the right people get into office,” she promised, and roused the audience to join her in chanting “We will not quit.” Meanwhile, two shady looking men wandered around the crowd handing out cards for their weekly Columbia bible study group.

The rally generated over 200 signatures for Senator Addabbo, and CUCD member Sarah Scheinmann, BC’12, said that she was happy that the event turned out so well.


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