The following has been introduced in the New York Assembly:
“[N]otwithstanding any state, local or municipal law, rule, regulation, ordinance, or other provision of law to the contrary, a religious entity as defined under the education law or section two of the religious corporations law, or a corporation incorporated under the benevolent orders law or described in the benevolent orders law but formed under any other law of this state, or a not-for-profit corporation operated, supervised, or controlled by a religious corporation, or any employee thereof, being managed, directed, or supervised by or in conjunction with a religious corporation, benevolent order, or a not-for-profit corporation as described in this subdivision, shall not be required to provide services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges for the solemnization or celebration of a marriage. Any such refusal to provide services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges shall not create any civil claim or cause of action or result in any state or local government action to penalize, withhold benefits, or discriminate against such religious corporation, benevolent order, a not-for-profit explanation.”
While the process is still unclear, it is believed that the Assembly — which approved the bill last week — will vote on the exemption amendments before the full bill moves to the Senate.
The bill also notes that if the religious exemptions are struck down, then the entire measure is void.
New Yorkers United For Marriage has released this statement: “The amended Marriage Equality legislation protects religious liberties without creating any special exceptions that would penalize same-sex couples or treat them unequally. The legislation strikes an appropriate balance that allows all loving, committed couples to marry while preserving religious freedom.”
@Blabbeando tweets: On NY1, Assemblymember Danny O’Donnell says he’s known for weeks there has been more than 32 votes in the Senate.
Via Towleroad: New York Senator James Alesi has told Albany NYT Bureau Chief Danny Hakim that marriage equality will be coming to a vote tonight in the Senate.
New York Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R) has released the following statement:
After many hours of deliberation and discussion over the past several weeks among the members, it has been decided that same sex marriage legislation will be brought to the full Senate for an up or down vote.
The entire Senate Republican Conference was insistent that amendments be made to the Governor’s original bill in order to protect the rights of religious institutions and not-for-profits with religious affiliations. I appreciate the Governor’s cooperation in working with us to address these important issues and concerns.
As I have said many times, this is a very difficult issue and it will be a vote of conscience for every member of the Senate.
Mike Long, the chairman of NY’s Conservative Party, predicts that marriage equality will pass tonight:
“I’m sorry to say that the bill’s going to pass,” Long told me in a phone interview minutes ago. He said that the recently released religious liberty amendment would serve as an “excuse for some Republican senators to hang their hat on.”
“I know they’ve got the 32nd vote, and I think they’ve muscled two more people” to give the vote some cushion.
“Hopefuly all of that blows up,” Long said. “I don’t see that happening.”
Sen. Andrew Lanza (R), who was considered a swing vote, announced that he would not be voting for the bill: “After exhaustive consideration of the issue of same-sex marriage … I have decided to vote no,” he said in a statement.