NY Inches toward Action on Gay Marriage Bill

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New York's gay marriage debate is expected to reach a critical showdown Wednesday. Only one more vote is needed for the state Senate to pass a measure legalizing same-sex marriage.
   
The sticking point for lawmakers is said to be over language protecting religious organizations.

Faith groups sought the protections out of fear they could be sued for refusing to allow their facilities to be used to host gay weddings.

The Democrat-led Assembly, which already passed Gov. Andrew Cuomo's bill, has indicated its willingness to adopt the protective measures.

"We're open to doing amendments that guarantee religious freedom in this state," said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a Manhattan Democrat.

Meanwhile, several key GOP senators in the gay marriage vote convened behind closed doors on Wednesday.

While issues like a property tax cap, New York City rent control and public college tuition increases are expected to be the main issues addressed, the gay marriage measure could come up later.

Currently, five state plus Washington, D.C., permit same-sex marriage. With the exception of Massachusetts and the nation's capital, all allow for at least limited religious exemptions.

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