Sources: Cuomo, legislative leaders agree on religious exemptions in marriage bill

LGBTQ Nation

The question still remains — will the New York state Senate bring the marriage equality bill to the floor for a vote?

The New York Times reports:

The Cuomo administration and legislative leaders have reached agreement on language to protect religious institutions from obligations to recognize same-sex marriage, two people involved in the negotiations said on Friday afternoon, potentially paving the way for a vote on the marriage legislation.

Senate Republicans were still discussing the marriage bill in a closed-door meeting on Thursday afternoon; it remained unclear whether — or if — they would permit a vote on the broader legislation. The State Assembly, which approved an earlier version of the same-sex marriage bill last week, would need to approve the new language before the full bill could become law.

Gay rights advocates said they were hopeful that the same-sex marriage bill would win passage before lawmakers ended their annual session.

The Times is also reporting that the amended version of the bill contains a “non-severability” clause, meaning that if any part of the law or the religious exemptions are challenged and struck down as “unconstitutional,” then the entire marriage equality bill would be struck down.

From the bill:

THIS ACT IS TO BE CONSTRUED AS A WHOLE, AND ALL PARTS OF IT ARE TO BE READ AND CONSTRUED TOGETHER. IF ANY PART OF THIS ACT SHALL BE ADJUDGED BY ANY COURT OF COMPETENT JURISDICTION TO BE INVALID, THE REMAINDER OF THIS ACT SHALL BE INVALIDATED. NOTHING HEREIN SHALL BE CONSTRUED TO AFFECT THE PARTIES’ RIGHT TO APPEAL THE MATTER.

The “amended language strikes an appropriate balance that allows all loving, committed couples to marry while preserving religious freedom,” said Freedom to Marry, in a statement via Twitter.

Check back for updates.

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