Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Friday that he expected same-sex marriage legislation to be approved before the end of the legislative session next week, and indicated that to win passage of the measure he is prepared to yield to Republican concerns for greater protections of religious groups.
“I am a proponent of marriage equality,” Mr. Cuomo told reporters on Friday. “I am also a proponent of religious freedom, and separation of church and state, so these are both very important principles. I don’t see one in competition with the other.”
With signs pointing to a vote on the marriage issue in the State Senate next week, there are widespread expectations that it will pass. 31 of the Senate’s 62 members have expressed support for the measure, including two Republicans.
Other Republican lawmakers appear to be seriously considering lending their support if Mr. Cuomo agrees to amend the proposal to give greater protection to religious organizations.
The State Assembly passed the same-sex marriage bill on Wednesday.
The legislation proposed by the governor includes exemptions for religious organizations and affiliated charities or nonprofit groups to protect them from litigation if they refuse to host or provide services for same-sex weddings.
But Senate Republicans want further provisions to protect such organizations from any repercussions from state agencies, that might deny aid or benefits based on discrimination.
“Governor Cuomo has been most gracious in terms of listening to some of these concerns,” Mr. Skelos added. “I think he’s doing the right thing by doing that, and those concerns will continue to be addressed.”
Senator Stephen M. Saland, a Hudson Valley Republican who is seen as one of the most likely tie-breaking votes, is one of the lead negotiators for the Senate Republicans over the marriage issue. Both the governor and the Republicans described negotiations as cordial and productive.
Likening the prohibition on same-sex marriage to earlier bans on interracial marriage, Mr. Cuomo said he was encouraged after talks with Republican lawmakers and confident that a marriage measure and his broader agenda would both be approved next week. “This state has a proud tradition and a proud legacy as the progressive capital of the nation,” he said in a hallway outside his office. “We led the way, and it’s time for New York to lead the way once again.”