Mr. Cuomo’s bill already protects clergy and religious groups from having to participate in gay marriages. But Mr. Ball’s proposed exceptions also would protect individuals, businesses and nonprofit groups opposed to gay marriage from being charged with discrimination for refusing to provide their property or services to be used in a same-sex wedding.
“No one wants to be in the position where we shut down Catholic adoption agencies or religious organizations, and the governor has got to, in my opinion, pay real attention to that possibility,” Mr. Ball said.
No such negotiations appear under way.
The bill is similar to the one defeated in 2009 in an effort led by Senate Republicans and some Democrats, dealing a blow to the national legalization movement.
“I think one of the hallmark principles of our country is respect for faiths, for religion in this country,” said Sen. Andrew J. Lanza, Staten Island Republican. “I think there are issues outstanding in this legislation with respect to that issue.”
Mr. Lanza wouldn’t say if the caucus was likely to send the bill to a floor for a vote, although Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos has said he hoped it would.
“The issue has not been resolved,” said Mr. Skelos, a Long Island Republican who is opposed to legalizing same-sex marriage.
An unofficial head count leaves the issue at a 31-31 tie in the Senate, where Republicans have a 32-30 majority. Republican Sen. Roy McDonald of Saratoga and Rensselaer counties and James Alesi of Monroe County said this week they would support gay marriage, after voting against it in 2009.
Twenty-nine of 30 Democratic senators also committed to the measure, and at least two Republican senators — Stephen Saland of Poughkeepsie and Mark Grisanti of Erie and Niagara counties — said they are undecided.
A tie in the 62-seat Senate would be a defeat, and some advocates, including Mr. Cuomo, have said they don’t want the measure brought to the floor only to see it lose again. Democrats, however, could test the power of the lieutenant governor, Robert Duffy of Rochester, to break a tie. But that rule is vague, saying it can only be used for “procedural” votes, and likely would be challenged in the courts.
Veteran Sen. Hugh Farley, Schenectady County Republican, opposes gay marriage but says the caucus meeting is open to senators supporting the bill.
“I have to do what I think is right, and they have to do what they think is right,” Mr. Farley said after the unusually lengthy caucus Wednesday.
“It’s going to be a tight one; it’s going to be close,” said the Rev. Duane Motley, a leader of a conservative Christian group, New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, lobbying against same-sex marriage.
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