A poll released Thursday shows an increase in support for giving gay and lesbian couples the right to marry in the Empire State.

The Quinnipiac University poll found that a majority (56%) of New Yorkers support gay marriage, an increase of five percentage points from a June 2009 survey.

Democrats were more likely than Republicans to support the union. Sixty-nine percent of self-described Democrats said they supported gay marriage, while only 41 percent of Republicans agreed.

“Governor Andrew Cuomo didn't make a big issue of same-sex marriage in his state-of-the-state speech, but he said he was for it and so are most New Yorkers,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

“New York state voter attitudes about gay marriage have shifted dramatically since April 15, 2004, when Quinnipiac University first asked about gay marriage and found voters opposed the measure 55 to 37 percent,” Carroll added.

The survey's results prompted renewed calls for lawmakers to legalize the union.

“Today's poll is yet another confirmation that a strong majority of New Yorkers believe that loving and committed same-sex couples should share in the freedom to marry,” Evan Wolfson, executive director of Freedom to Marry, said in a statement. “New Yorkers, like all Americans, see their gay neighbors, co-workers, and family members and realize that their commitment and families deserve the same fairness, the same treatment, and the same respect under the law as everyone else's. The Assembly has passed a freedom to marry bill three times. Governor Cuomo has urged and promised action to end this exclusion. It is indeed time to act. Both chambers should swiftly send a marriage bill to the governor’s desk so that New York can move forward together, as New Yorkers want and deserve.”

Openly gay Senator Thomas Duane has promised to introduce a gay marriage bill this session. Similar measures are also under consideration in Maryland and Rhode Island.