“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,” Skelos said in the statement.
Skelos and the Republican caucus met in conference today to discuss the issue, after Governor Andrew Cuomo agreed to certain amendments strengthening the protections for religious institutions and individual objectors.
“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,” Skelos said in the statement.
The bill is currently stuck at 31 pledged votes — 29 Democrats and 2 Republicans — but several Republicans are believed to be on the fence. (State Senator Greg Ball, who had publicly called for stronger religious protections, said last night that he would against the bill.)
Unlike two years, when the bill failed without a single Republican vote, Skelos said the vote would be left to the individual members of the conference.
“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,” he said.