Time Running Out for N.Y. Gay Marriage Battle

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It's down to the wire for New York state's gay marriage legislation.

Monday is the last day of the legislative session and Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo is urging lawmakers to legalize same sex marriage before it ends. The measure needs just one vote to pass.

Meanwhile, Christians are concerned the measure infringes on religious freedoms.

With the clock ticking away, opponents and supporters are standing their ground over whether same sex marriage should be legalized in the state.

"Whose business is it and why does anybody get hurt? That's what I don't understand," New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in support of the measure.

Currently 31 state senators, including two Republicans are in favor of the same-sex bill. Three Republican senators remain undecided.

State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, R-9th District, told reporters the process was ongoing.

"We are making progress in terms of the issue with the religious exemptions in the gay marriage bill," he said.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters he is cautiously optimistic a bill will pass. But he said work still needs to be done to find common ground.

One reason a vote has been stalled? Republicans want solid legal protections for religious institutions that believe gay marriage is wrong.

"We want to make sure that, there are provisions in there to protect against unintended consequences," Skelos said.

Specifically under the bill, clergy have the right to decide whether they want to perform same sex marriages.

"What we don't want to see is religious organizations being opened up to litigation because of a new set, and a new era of law," State Sen. Greg Ball, R-Patterson, explained.

"It's not a civil rights issue. I disagree with that. It has to be something that's immutable," said Rev. Dr. Norman Macklin, with the Empire Missionary Baptist Church.

"That's one of the conditions for it to be a civil rights issue. This last part is not immutable," he said.

On Sunday, at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City, Archbishop Timothy Dolan continued his campaign against the legislation.

"Marriage is already defined as the life-long union between one man and one woman in love bringing about children," he said. "I don't think it's political in just to stand up and say let's not tamper with that."

Gov. Cuomo has the option of extending the legislative session and has indicated that he is willing to do that to see the gay marriage bill pass.

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Charlene  Aaron

Charlene Aaron

CBN News Reporter

Charlene Aaron serves as a general assignment reporter and helps anchor for the CBN News Channel.  Follow her on Twitter @CharNews and "like" her at Facebook.com/CharleneIsraelCBNNews.