NY Gov. Cuomo makes major push for gay marriage

By MICHAEL GORMLEY | June 23, 2011 | 3:15 AM EDT

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Dozens of gay couples are planning to converge on Albany to witness what would be a historic vote to legalize gay marriage in New York.

The issue is testing Gov. Andrew Cuomo's (KWOH'-mohs) political skills as he tries to engineer one of the biggest social changes in a generation. New York would become the sixth state to legalize gay marriage.

The Democrat has been meeting with Republican senators to privately test proposals for additional religious exceptions.

The proposed protections are aimed at saving religious groups from discrimination lawsuits if they refuse to recognize gay marriage.

Those exceptions are intended to coax the state Senate's Republic majority, most who oppose gay marriage, to allow the bill to the Senate for a vote. That could happen as early as Thursday.