ALBANY, N.Y. —  Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he was cautiously optimistic his gay marriage bill will soon become law as he held more one-on-one negotiations Friday with Senate Republicans.

The Republicans who hold the critical votes say they worry Cuomo’s bill doesn’t adequately protect religious groups and churches that refuse to preside over same-sex weddings and other services.

A third lengthy, closed-door meeting by the GOP majority brought the bill, widely viewed as key to national momentum on the issue, no closer to a floor vote. The Democratic-led Assembly passed the measure Wednesday as expected, and a vote in the Senate had been anticipated this week.

That action could now be days away, after Senate Republicans didn’t even discuss Friday whether to take that action.

“There has been no decision – in fact that really was not the discussion – as to whether it will come out yet, who’s voting for it, who’s voting against it,” Majority Leader Dean Skelos said after Friday’s two-hour conference.

The Republican said senators for and against gay marriage want to make the sure that if the bill gets a floor vote there won’t be “unintended consequences to this legislation” – a reference to religious protections.

Some Republicans have sought further protections of caterers and others who might object to providing services or a venue for a wedding of a same-sex couple. One proposal apparently not under serious discussion would protect individuals opposed to gay marriage from laws against discrimination.

“They want to make sure the line between church and state is intact and is clear and however the state defines marriage, is the state’s business and it will not be imposed on a religion,” Cuomo, a Catholic, said Friday.

“That is a very important point, and I am as equally concerned about that as I am in achieving marriage equality,” he said. “I believe we can address their concerns.”

He cautioned the bill that seems stalled in the Senate Republican majority this week won’t see a floor vote until least the early part of next week, and even then not until the final language has been agreed upon.

Activists on both sides of the gay-marriage debate are anxiously watching the outcome of the battle in New York, which may end up hinging on the votes of only a handful of Republican senators. New York would become the sixth and largest state where gay marriage is legal.

Cuomo met throughout the day in his office with undecided Republicans and other influential members of the party.

Catholic Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York said Friday that the bill proposed by Cuomo would impinge on religious freedom and on the social services provided by religious groups.

“We are still working for the defeat of this bill,” Dolan told WGDJ-AM in Albany. “We’re realistic to know the forces pushing this are very strong; they’re well-oiled, they’re well-financed … (but) it’s not a done deal.”

The Rev. Norman Macklin of the Empire Baptist Missionary Convention of New York and the Rev. Duane Motley, leader of a conservative Christian group called New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, said the Senate’s continued concern over religious exemptions show the gay marriage bill is in trouble.

Cuomo’s bill already has some protections for religious groups, and no clergy would be forced to preside over a gay marriage.

More than 700 clergy and lay leaders working with gay marriage advocates say the bill has adequate protections now.

“There are some among us who are using religion as a smoke screen to hide their intolerance,” those leaders said Friday in a prepared statement.