The announcement didn’t come as a complete surprise.
Ball, a Republican from Patterson, Putnam County, had been pushing for much stricter language to protect religious groups and non-profits from law suits if they fail to recognize same-sex couple. But it became clear in recent days that the language wouldn’t rise to the level Ball was seeking.
Senate Republicans are set to meet later tonight — possibly into the early hours Friday — to decide whether to bring the bill to a vote. It already passed the Assembly, and a handful of GOP senators successfully pushed for an amendment (still not released to the public) for stricter religious protections.
There are currently 31 confirmed “yes” votes, with a small handful of Republicans — including Stephen Saland of Poughkeepsie and Mark Grisanti of Buffalo — who say they’re undecided.
Here’s Ball’s statement, in full:
“Knowing that marriage equality was likely to pass, I thought it important to force the issue of religious protections. Over the past few weeks, I’ve had the distinct opportunity of listening to literally thousands of residents, on both sides of this issue, by holding an undecided stance. I thought it was important to listen to all of my constituents and hold an undecided position until the actual bill language was written and everyone’s voice had been heard. Now that the final text is public, I am proud that I have secured some strong protections for religious institutions and basic protections for religious organizations. The bill still lacks many of the basic religious protections I thought were vital, and for this reason, and as I did in the Assembly, I will be voting ‘no.’”