New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has said passage of a gay marriage bill has been more meaningful to people than he imagined.

New York became the sixth and largest state to legalize gay nuptials when the Republican-controlled Senate approved Cuomo's bill on June 24, 2011.

But in an interview with the Star-Gazette, Cuomo said that he remained uncertain of the measure's fate as the vote approached.

“[I]f you asked me to bet, I would bet that we don't get it passed,” he said. “And it's not so clear that losing is worth it. It would have been the second loss.”

“I decided, fine, we're all in and we go. And if we don't get it this time, we'll go again. And if we don't get it that time, we'll go again and ultimately we'll get there. But I never knew for sure.”

Reaction, Cuomo said, has been overwhelming.

“It meant more to people than I even imagined,” he said. “Marriage equality, it wasn't even about marriage. It was about equality. It was about acceptance; it was about affirmation.”