After another closed-door conference that lasted close to three hours, Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos emerged to say his caucus is concerned about the “unintended consequences” of the current same-sex marriage bill.
Skelos confirmed what some of his members said yesterday—they are seeking additional protections for religious institutions.
The majority leader said Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been “receptive” to it. Three GOP senators—Stephen Saland of Poughkeepsie, Kemp Hannon of Long Island, and Andrew Lanza of Staten Island—met privately yesterday with Cuomo on the issue.
One of the most outspoken critics of the current religious protections included in the legislation has been Sen. Greg Ball, R-Patterson, Putnam County. Ball has said he can’t vote for the bill in its current form, and said it’s good that Cuomo now appears willing to consider changing the language.
The bill currently has 31 confirmed “yes” votes in the Senate—one shy of enough for passage.
“The governor has an opportunity to reach out to those who have real, pragmatic concerns about the bill, or to just at hand say, ‘You know what? We’re just not going to address it,’” Ball said. “At first, the governor’s knee-jerk reaction was to say we’re not going to address it. Now, he realizes, it’s not just myself but a small chorus of people who have similar concerns, and now it looks like it’s being addressed.”