In separate pleas Monday, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn urged senators to approve a gay marriage bill.

Quinn, a Democrat from Manhattan who is openly lesbian, became emotional on Monday when asked about the bill.

“This is literally a moment where people can stand up and say that everybody's family matters, that everybody's home is a blessed place and that everybody has the same rights,” Quinn told reporters in the Red Room at New York City Hall. “You don't get a lot of times in life when you get to do that, when you get to send a message like that.”

Governor David Paterson has asked lawmakers in the Senate, where the bill faces its final obstacle to becoming law, to vote on the bill during an extraordinary session that opens Tuesday.

Over the weekend, Paterson called a recent gay marriage setback in Maine an opportunity.

“I think there's this feeling that if legislation fails that it's this colossal loss for the cause,” Paterson said in an exclusive interview with gay blog Towleroad. “I find it to be motivational. I think that the public referendum in Maine should inspire us that there's more work to do, more persuasion to be made, more understanding to be reached, and more sensitivity to be displayed, and those of us who have been a catalyst for marriage equality have to regroup and work harder.”

On Monday, Mayor Bloomberg wrote to lawmakers, saying the bill “advances the fundamental democratic idea that government should treat all people equally and that all persons stand equal before the law.”

“I understand the hesitation that some may have to undertake such a change, but this is an issue that cuts across traditional divides,” Bloomberg said. “The issue is not the exclusive domain of libertarians, liberals or conservatives; it is a matter of removing the state as a barrier to personal relationships; it is a matter of basic fairness; it is a matter of family stability.”

Bloomberg, a former Republican turned Independent who supports gay marriage and won reelection to a third term last Tuesday, remained silent on the issue during his campaign, leaving some to call his support “too little, too late.”

Democrats who control the Senate with a slim 2 seat majority are considering bringing the bill up for a vote. But despite assurances from openly gay Senator Tom Duane, the bill's sponsor in the Senate, passage looks dim. Still, gay rights groups have lobbied for the vote, saying they want to put senators on record.

Meanwhile, Quinn, who is engaged to marry her parter if the law is approved, paused several times on Monday while addressing reporters. Visibly emotional, she added: “Now the worst thing in the world is to have your hopes beaten down. And I urge people, if they think I am not as good as they are, to actually have the courage to say that in front of me and the rest of the New Yorkers who are members of the LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] community.”

Lawmakers in New Jersey are also considering a gay marriage bill.