New York came one step closer to legalizing marriage equality Friday after Republican lawmakers and Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo reportedly reached an agreement on religious exemptions.
The new exemptions would protect religious organizations from being required to recognize same sex marriages.
Senate Republicans met behind close doors Friday afternoon to discuss the measure, according to The New York Times. Even staff members had been excluded from the meeting.
Assemblyman Daniel J. O’Donnell (D), who sponsored the bill in the assembly, told the Times that there had been an “agreement in principle” on the new languange. The assembly would have to approve the religious exemptions before the bill could be sent to Cuomo’s desk.
Support for the measure is one vote short of a majority in the Republican-controlled Senate.
In April, an alliance of gay rights groups — along with the Democratic governor — launched an “unprecedented” effort to legalize same sex marriage in the state.
If the law passes, New York would become the sixth and most populous state to approve marriage equality.
Currently, Iowa, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont permit same sex marriage.
States such as Hawaii, California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington D.C. and New Jersey offer civil unions to same sex couples, but not marriage rights.
According to a March poll, the majority of Americans are currently in favor of allowing same sex marriage, 53 percent to 44 percent.
— with earlier reporting by AFP