According to the New York Times and other sources, the New York state Senate will be debating the marriage equality bill sometime later today. A big part of the pre-debate negotiations have centered around religious exemption language which you can read here. Watch the debate at this link or in the window below. Check out this Bilerico live blog by Rev. Emily C. Heath for live updates from the Capitol.
Update: The New York Catholic Conference has just released this tone deaf missive:
The Bishops of New York State oppose in the strongest possible terms any attempt to redefine the sacred institution of marriage. The matter of religious exemptions has been and continues to be a secondary issue that in no way negates the fact that this bill is bad for society. We urge all Senators to vote no on Governor Cuomo’s bill. Marriage has always been, is now, and always will be the union of one man and one woman in a lifelong, life-giving union. Government does not have the authority to change this most basic of truths.
It’s no surprise to hear Church representatives say that “Government does not have the authority to change this” since the Church insists that it has the final word in all things, but it is utterly tone deaf to tell legislators that they don’t have the authority to legislate.
Update 2: The Assembly has passed the amendments 82-48. The ball is now 100% in the Senate’s court. Statement from New Yorkers United for Marriage:
Thanks to Assembly Speaker Silver, Assemblymember O’Donnell and their Assembly colleagues – whose long-term support for true marriage equality has been unflagging — New York is one step closer to allowing all New Yorkers the freedom to marry the person they love. The amendment to the Marriage Equality bill that just passed the Assembly will ensure religious liberties are protected without creating any special exceptions that would penalize same-sex couples or treat them unequally. The amendment strikes an appropriate balance that will allow all loving, committed couples to marry while preserving religious freedom. We remain steadfast in our demand that the Senate uphold its obligation to the people of the State of New York and allow a vote on both the marriage equality bill and this amendment before concluding their business and leaving town.
Update 3: NOM capitulating? They’ve switched to “a vote of the people” rhetoric, which they wouldn’t do if they felt they were going to win the Senate vote.
Update 4: The GOP-required amendment just passed 36-26. Now on to the main bill.Our own Clarknt67 just tweeted this picture of a huge banner in front of Stonewall Inn, which reads “New York Loves Gay Marriage”