NY GOP senator: Religion key to gay marriage vote

By MICHAEL GORMLEY | June 14, 2011 | 1:56 PM EDT

Actress Cynthia Nixon, left, New York Rangers' Sean Avery, center, and Brian Ellner from Campaign for New York Marriage, right, talk with reporters after asking lawmakers to pass legislation to legalize same-sex marriage in New York at the Capitol in Albany, N.Y., Tuesday, June 14, 2011. The New York state Senate's Republican majority is facing an all-out effort by Democrats to legalize gay marriage in the last days of the session and reinvigorate the national movement. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink)

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A New York state lawmaker says he's seen no crack in the GOP bloc against a gay marriage bill, but proposed religious exceptions could make the difference.

Republican Sen. Greg Ball says "arrogance" on the extremes of both sides of the issue has stopped real debate and negotiation on the bill submitted by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The Democratic governor says the bill is "roughly" the same as the one defeated by Republican senators in 2009, and doesn't include additional religious exemptions.

But Ball said Tuesday those exemptions are key to his and other Republicans' votes. He wants churches, religious groups and individuals personally opposed to gay marriage to be exempt from performing or hosting gay marriages.

The effort now appears to be just two votes from passage.