Deals on issues may allow New York gay nuptials vote

Tue Jun 21, 2011 4:28pm EDT
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By Dan Wiessner

ALBANY, New York (Reuters) - Legislative leaders in New York state on Tuesday announced tentative deals to control rent for New York City apartments and cap property taxes, possibly clearing the way for a vote to legalize same sex marriage.

The same-sex marriage bill, which would make New York the sixth and largest state to allow gay nuptials, needs only one more Senate vote to pass.

Undecided senators have cited concerns over exemptions for religious groups and individuals as the sticking point in negotiations.

A vote on the measure in the Senate, which was originally expected last week, had been delayed as legislative leaders and Governor Andrew Cuomo wrangled over the other issues.

Cuomo and Democratic lawmakers favor expanded rent laws, while the Senate's Republican majority is seeking a simple extension. Leaders on Tuesday did not reveal details of the tentative agreement.

Emerging from a closed-door meeting with Cuomo, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos said a "framework" agreement had been reached on the rent laws and tax cap, but they refused to offer details or set a date for a Senate vote on same-sex marriage, which passed the Assembly last week.

Skelos said he expected the legislature to break for a summer recess Wednesday.

The legislative session was scheduled to end on Monday, but lawmakers stayed at the Capitol along with hundreds of protesters on both sides of the marriage debate.   Continued...