“After many hours of deliberation and discussion over the past several weeks among the members, it has been decided that same sex marriage legislation will be brought to the full senate for an up or down vote,” the majority leader Dean Skelos, a Republican, said in a statement after meeting with colleagues.
“The entire senate Republican conference was insistent that amendments be made to the governor’s original bill in order to protect the rights of religious institutions and not-for-profits with religious affiliations.”
“As I have said many times, this is a very difficult issue and it will be a vote of conscience for every member of the senate,” he added.
The vote had been expected all day after a late session was brought to a close late Thursday without a move in the state assembly.
Lawmakers, who should have recessed Monday evening, have been in drawn-out negotiations since then, in an extraordinary session to put finishing touches on the bill’s language designed to address legal protections for religious organizations.
The senate, dominated by Republicans, already rejected a similar bill in December 2009.
But supporters are expecting a better result this time around, with the document needing 32 votes out of 62 to be adopted, and already 31 senators expressed their backing for the measure.
Sheldon Silver, speaker of the Democratic-majority state assembly, which approved the original bill last week, has said that if the senate passes its version, the house would then meet to vote on the amended text.
After the assembly vote, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who introduced the bill, is expected to sign it into law.
If the law passes, New York would become the sixth and most populous state to approve gay marriage, after Iowa, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont.
Hawaii, California, Nevada, Oregon and New Jersey, as well as the US capital Washington, offer civil unions to same-sex couples, but not marriage rights.
A March poll found that a 53 percent majority of Americans are in favor of allowing gay marriage.