Republicans in New York's Senate said that a four hour meeting did not yield a decision on whether they would call a vote on legislation to legalize gay marriage.
Thirty-one senators have publicly pledged their affirmative votes, leaving the bill one vote away from passage. The Republican caucus is being anxiously watched to see if any members will join the two Republicans who have already broken ranks and announced their support for the bill. The legislative session ends on Sunday.
Republican senators have charged that the bill does not go far enough in carving out exemptions for faith groups or individuals who do not wish to sanction same sex marriage, the so-called conscience exemption.
If nothing else, we are a country that protects religious freedom, and that must be embodied in any legislation that ever comes to the floor of the Senate, Sen. Andrew Lanza said.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has made good on his campaign promise to make gay marriage a priority, formally introduced the legislation yesterday. Cuomo had previously said that he would not advance a bill without being assured of its passage, so his decision to do so reflects a calculation that momentum is building in favor of it.
The legislation has spurred a massive lobbying effort on both sides, prompting impassioned endorsements from elected officials like New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and staunch opposition from religious figures, including New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan. The bill's passage would represent a stark reversal from 2009, when a Democratically controlled Senate defeated a similar bill 38-to-24.