Gay marriage headed to vote on NY Senate floor

MICHAEL GORMLEY - Associated Press
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Gay marriage supporter Danielle Gannon of Albany, N.Y., holds signs and chants in a hallway at the Capitol in Albany, on Friday, June 24, 2011. Following the latest marathon session on Thursday, the Senate Republican majority plans to again take up a gay marriage bill that could be pivotal moment in the national gay rights movement. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — NY Senators are heading back into the chamber to vote on religious exemptions to gay marriage, the last obstacle before a vote on whether to legalize same-sex unions.

Republicans who have the majority in the Senate had already said they approved the tougher exemptions that protect religious groups from discrimination if they refuse to serve gay couples.

A vote on whether to make New York the sixth state, and by far the largest, where gay marriage is legal, is expected tonight.

As of last count, 31 senators approved of the measure, 29 opposed and two were undecided.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo will sign it into law if the Senate approves the bill. Advocates see it as a turning point in the national gay rights movement.