New York gay marriage vote delayed

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New York’s Republican-controlled Senate delayed a crucial vote on gay marriage last night, citing concerns over exemptions for religious groups.

Last week, the Assembly passed the bill by 80-63 votes.

Just one more vote is needed to pass the bill in the Senate. Thirty-one of the 62 senators have said they will back the legislation.

Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos had a closed-door meeting with Governor Andrew Cuomo last night.

According to Reuters, the pair discussed amendments to the current draft of the bill.

Mr Skelos told reporters: “We’re making sure the religious protections are solid and that they will stand.”

Yesterday was supposed to be the last day of the legislative session but lawmakers have said they will stay until at least Wednesday to work out deals for the gay marriage bill and several others.

This bill does not offer protection to individuals who refuse to officiate or provide services to gay weddings. However, religious groups are not obliged to perform the ceremonies.

If the bill passes, it will come into law 30 days after the governor signs the legislation, making New York the sixth US state to allow gay couples to marry.

Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington DC currently have marriage equality. California’s ban is under review.