Senate Will Vote on Marriage Equality Act Tonight, Religious Exemptions Agreed Upon

ALBANY, NY - JUNE 17: Roger Minch Jr. of Troy, New York, and others hold signs in support of a same sex marriage bill outside the New York Senate Chamber on June 17, 2011 in Albany, New York. A bill to legalize same sex marriage has stalled in the Senate, and republicans say they are working on changes to the bill before bringing it up for a vote. (Photo by Matthew Cavanaugh/Getty Images) Photo: Matthew Cavanaugh/2011 Getty Images

The religious exemptions that have been debated over all week between Republican state senators and Governor Andrew Cuomo finally turned up this afternoon as amendments to the bill that already passed the Assembly. You can view them here. They've been introduced to that body, which plans to vote on them before tonight. Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos has just announced that the Senate will vote on the measure. An interesting inclusion in the amendments is a severability clause:

This act is to be construed as a whole, and all parts of it are to be read and construed together. If any part of this act shall be adjudged by any court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, the remainder of this act shall be invalidated. Nothing herein shall be construed to affect the parties' right to appeal the matter.

That basically means that if a court decides that one part of the marriage bill is discriminatory and attempts to strike it down, the whole law is invalidated — pretty extreme language to be built in. Advocates are hoping this language will be enough to sway one or more Republicans, like Andrew Lanza or Mark Grisanti, over to the "yes" side. [Update: Lanza has said he will vote "no" on the bill.]

Albany Leaders Reach Consensus on Religious Exemptions For Marriage Measure [City Room/NYT]

This post has been updated with new information.