Timothy Dolan, the Roman Catholic archbishop of New York, on Sunday prayed for the defeat of a gay marriage bill in the Empire State.

The bill, officially introduced by Governor Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday, was approved by the Assembly on Wednesday. Lawmakers in the Senate, however, are evenly divided on the measure. On Friday, Cuomo said he believes he can address the religious concerns of some GOP senators, adding that he's confident New York will become the sixth – and most populous – state to legalize the institution.

During Sunday's prayer service at St. Patrick's cathedral in New York City, Dolan said: “Any presumption to redefine that sacred vocabulary, I'm afraid is at our common peril.”

After the service, Dolan told reporters that he will continue to fight against what he called a “well oiled and choreographed project” and denied he was motivated by animus towards gay and lesbian couples.

“Our strong convictions are not anti anybody, but simply pro marriage,” Dolan said. “We would just as vigorously defend marriage from a demand by a heterosexual, or anybody else, to redefine the very nature of marriage to accommodate a relationship beyond that of one man and one woman.” (A video report is embedded in the right panel of this page.)

Last week, Dolan called the bill an “ominous threat” to society.

Lawmakers could consider the measure as early as Monday.