New York Governor David Paterson said Thursday that he would press for a vote on gay marriage during an extraordinary session of the Senate he is calling for Tuesday, the AP reported.

Gay activists have the support of Paterson who has previously attempted to pressure the Senate to act on the legislation already approved by the Assembly.

While the governor controls the agenda in the Senate, he cannot force lawmakers to act. Still, senators appears to be warming up to the idea of counting heads on the issue, including Senate President Malcolm Smith, who earlier advised against taking a vote until it was certain the bill would pass.

β€œThere are obviously still challenges with the votes, but you've got to bring it forward and let it happen, one way or another,” Smith said late last month at a fundraiser for Empire State Pride Agenda, the state's largest gay rights advocate.

The bill's sponsor in the Senate, openly gay Senator Tom Duane, has said repeatedly that the measure has the votes to pass in the Senate.

While Democrats hold a majority in the chamber, members are not entirely united on the issue. For the measure to pass, several Republicans, none of whom publicly support gay marriage, would need to cross the aisle.

Tuesday's election results, however, might have spooked the few Republicans who might have been contemplating such a move. Voters in Maine rejected a gay marriage law approved by lawmakers and neighboring New Jersey ousted its pro-gay marriage governor.

In New York, gay marriage opponents pressured a moderate Republican who voted in favor of gay marriage to drop her bid for New York's 23rd Congressional District. The National Organization for Marriage (NOM), the nation's most vociferous opponent of gay marriage, took credit when support among Republicans for Dede Scozzafava collapsed. NOM President Maggie Gallager crowed about her group's opposition to Scozzafava in blog posts published at the National Review's website. Gallagher said the group sent out 160,000 pieces of mail and made more than 250,000 robocalls to voters in the district informing them on Scozzafava's position on gay marriage.

And NOM has promised similar retribution to any Republican in New York who does not toe the conservative line.

Whether the measure passes or fails, gay marriage advocates say they want a vote to put senators on record.

"We look forward to hearing our lives and our families debated on the Senate floor next Tuesday," Alan Van Capelle, executive director of Empire State Pride Agenda, told supporters in an email Thursday.

β€œIt's now time that each of the 62 State Senators vote their conscience on this bill that has great implications for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers in all parts of the state,” he added.