New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has pledged his support for the legalization of gay marriage in the state, the New York Times reported.

At a closed door meeting on Wednesday, Cuomo told gay marriage backers that he was prepared to devote his “full attention” to the cause.

In attendance at the meeting were New York City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, who is openly gay; Human Rights Campaign's (HRC) Brian Ellner; Empire State Pride Agenda Executive Director Ross D. Levi; and Equality Matters President Richard Socarides.

“This meeting was intended to send a statement directly from the governor that this state is going to lead on the issue – and he is going to lead it,” Socarides told the paper.

According to the Times, the governor would likely move on the legislation after dealing with the state budget, a process which could drag on beyond the April 1 deadline.

A 2009 push to legalize gay marriage in the Empire State ended in an embarrassing defeat after backers misjudged support for the bill in the Senate, then in Democratic control. Republicans have since take over the chamber.

The defeat, however, gave rise to new groups and campaigns to support gay marriage.

Fight Back New York, a campaign to oust senators who opposed the bill, has been credited for some ballot box defeats. And an HRC-backed campaign urging New Yorkers to support gay marriage has attracted nationwide attention for its use of celebrity endorsements, particularly Barbara Bush, daughter of former President George W. Bush and a Republican.

“To me this is more than just a piece of legislation,” Cuomo said in a statement after the hourlong meeting. “This is about the lives of people who I have known for many years, who currently are without the rights to which they are entitled.”