As Legislation is Tabled, Same-Sex Marriage Debate Continues

June 21, 2011 Updated Jun 21, 2011 at 11:38 PM EDT

By WKBW Internet

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June 21, 2011 Updated Jun 21, 2011 at 11:38 PM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) - While much progress was made in Albany Tuesday, the controversial bill seeking to legalize same-sex marriage was not part of it.

Lawmakers are expected to vote on outstanding issues like the property tax cap and tuition hikes for SUNY school Wednesday, but whether that means the same-sex marriage issue will be taken up after or put off for a special session remains to be seen.

The issue itself, however, continues to be debated. For those defending traditional marriage, it's in part about government staying out faith.

"Government didn't create marriage to begin with, so it should stay out of the business of trying to redefine it," says Julianne Thompson, the author of the upcoming book, "Tough Love: Faith in Politics."

For those in favor, it's about being entitled to certain rights.

"We're just asking for our equality and to be treated equally under the law," says Bryan Ball of Stonewall Democrats of WNY.

Equality under the law is something most who defend traditional marriage can support.

"There isn't any reason why those privileges shouldn't be available to members or partners in a civil union as much as they are available in marriage, and if that's the dividing line than the law just needs to be changed," said Thompson.

Civil Union vs Marriage. Those who support sharing rights with same-sex couples but wish to preserve traditional marriage say the government should change the law to allow for civil unions to afford couples the same rights.

Same-sex marriage supporters say that separate is not always equal however, and that they should be included in the current civil marriage laws.

Recent changes in the Senate bill have also raised concerns for opponents over the lack of adequate protections for religious organizations who choose not to participate in same-sex marriage, which they say could lead to countless discrimination lawsuits and churches.

Ball agrees, saying, "obviously with people's legitimate concerns it's important for [religious protections] to be mentioned and to be reaffirmed in the legislation."