New York Senator James Alesi on Monday became the first Republican in the Senate to back Governor Andrew Cuomo's plan to make New York the sixth state to legalize gay marriage.

Alesi was among the five Republicans who've said in recent weeks that they're not decided on the issue.

Alesi announced his decision after emerging from a closed-door meeting with Cuomo and proponents of gay marriage.

“It was a political move,” Alesi said of his opposition to a similar measure two years ago.

“I was supporting the conference vote that I thought at the time politically was necessary when we were in the minority. We are no longer in the minority.”

“I believe that if you live in America and you expect equality and freedom for yourself, you should extend it to other people,” he added.

Three fence-sitting Democrats – Senators Joseph Addabbo, Shirley Huntley and Carl Kruger – also announced their support.

The Democrats, who had voted against the measure in 2009, explained that increasing support for marriage equality among their constituents had convinced them to switch sides.

Addabbo, for instance, said that support among constituents who contacted his office had risen from 27% two years ago to more than 80% this year.

“What we're about to do is redefine what the American family is,” Kruger said. “And that's a good thing. The world around us evolves.”

Senate Democrats are now nearly united in their support for the proposal, with the exception of Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. of the Bronx. The Pentecostal minister is the chamber's most vocal opponent of giving gay and lesbian couples the right to marry and is considered unswayable.

The announcements put proponents just two votes shy of victory. Republican leaders are expected to discuss the matter by Wednesday and a vote in the Senate could come as early as Thursday.

Republicans have been warned by the National Organization of Marriage (NOM) and the Conservative Party not to vote in favor of the proposed legislation. Both say they'll fight the reelection campaigns of any GOPer that votes for the measure.