Saturday, June 18, 2011

New York gay marriage religious exemptions: Cuomo, GOP in 'cordial, productive' negotiations; Gov. expects passage next week

The New York Times reports that Hudson Valley Republican Senator Stephen M. Saland, whose vote likely to be tie-breaking, is one of the lead negotiators.
Talks between Mr. Cuomo and Republican senators are said to focus on a relatively narrow issue. The legislation proposed by the governor includes exemptions for religious organizations and affiliated charities or nonprofit groups to protect them from litigation if they refuse to host or provide services for same-sex weddings...
The exemptions Senate Republicans are seeking are similar to those in the same-sex marriage law in New Hampshire, a model that Senate Republicans have studied. Same-sex marriage advocates appear willing to agree to language changes to make a deal.
     Ross D. Levi, the executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda, said: “The states that have passed either marriage or civil unions have a range from either nothing — Iowa and Massachusetts have no religious exemptions — to very, very extensive, and I think what the governor is working on is finding that balance. And I agree that it’s appropriate to find that balance.”

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