People toward the back of the City Council Chamber during the vote that made Chris Quinn speaker noticed an unexpected sight: Councilman Simcha Felder, a key Quinn supporter, slipping into the men’s room at the back of the chamber just before the vote.
I called Felder to ask about this and he declined to comment — — he would only say he was happy Chris won — but referred me to a Jewish Week item (scroll down) I’d missed: Apparently, the vote in Chris’s favor was not 50 in favor (with one abstention), but actually 49 votes with an abstention and an absentee: Felder.
The Jewish Week reports that rabbinic authorities told Felder, an Orthodox Jew from Borough Park, that he could not vote for Quinn because she’s a lesbian. But this didn’t stop him from backing her, and playing a central role in the maneuverings that swung momentum decisively in her favor.
And, obviously, he didn’t want to vote against her. Thus the flight to the bathroom.
In another context, you might call the logic Jesuitical.