Same-sex marriage bill hits snags on religion questions

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(AP) - Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) held more one-on-onenegotiations Friday with Senate Republicans who worry his bill tolegalize gay marriage doesn't do enough to protect religious groupsand churches that refuse to preside over same-sex weddings andother services. A third lengthy, closed-door meeting by the GOP majority broughtthe bill, widely viewed as key to national momentum on the issue,no closer to a floor vote. The Democrat-led Assembly passed themeasure Wednesday as expected, and a vote in the Senate had beenanticipated this week. That action could now be days away, after Senate Republicansdidn't even discuss Friday whether to take that action. "There has been no decision - in fact that really was not thediscussion - as to whether it will come out yet, who's voting forit, who's voting against it," Majority Leader Dean Skelos saidimmediately after Friday's two-hour conference. The Long Island Republican said senators for and against gaymarriage want to make the sure that if the bill gets a floor votethere won't be "unintended consequences to this legislation" - areference to religious protections. Skelos didn't go into more details but noted that some Catholicadoption agencies closed after a law was passed years agoprohibiting discrimination against gays and lesbians. Other Republicans have sought further protections of caterersand others who might object to providing services or a venue for awedding of a same-sex couple. Activists on both sides of the gay-marriage debate are anxiouslywatching the outcome of the battle in New York, which may end uphinging on the votes of only a handful of Republican senators. NewYork would become the sixth and largest state where gay marriage islegal. Cuomo met throughout the day in his office with undecidedRepublicans and other influential members of the party, often oneon one, sometimes in groups of two or three. Catholic Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York said Friday thatthe bill proposed by Cuomo, a Catholic Democrat, would impinge onreligious freedom and on the social services provided by religiousgroups

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