One of the eight Democrat Senators who voted against gay marriage in New York this week said he had never promised he would support it.

Joseph Addabbo, of Queens, admitted he had received donations from gay rights activists but said he made no promises to them.

Several hundred people marched in New York on Wednesday night to protest against the vote, with many furious at Democrats they thought had betrayed them.

Appearing on the Brian Lehrer Show today, Addabbo said 74 per cent of his constituents were against gay marriage. He would not give his own views on the matter.

He said: “At no point did I ever say ‘yes’. I proposed I would keep an open mind.

“It was my intention to keep an open mind and by doing so, I felt that I would get a clear indication of where my district stands on this issue.”

According to the Advocate, Addabbo received $9,500, the maximum allowable contribution, in 2008 from gay philanthropist Tim Gill, the backer of the Gill Action Fund.

The bill needed 32 votes to pass but gay rights advocates were dismayed that it fell eight votes short in a 24-38 decision.