New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Thursday called for the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) – the law that defines marriage for federal agencies as a heterosexual union – and for every state to legalize gay marriage.

Speaking at the Empire State Pride Agenda's 20th annual Fall Dinner, where he was presented with the group's Douglas W. Jones Leadership Award for his “steadfast leadership and unwavering determination,” Cuomo was given a hero's welcome.

“We need marriage equality in every state in this nation,” Cuomo is quoted as saying by The New York Times. “Otherwise, no state really has marriage equality, and we will not rest until it is a reality.”

New York City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn – who is openly gay and considered the frontrunner to replace Mayor Michael Bloomberg – introduced Cuomo, crediting his leadership for passage of a gay marriage bill that had failed to clear the state Senate in 2009.

At the event, organizers raised more than $1.2 million.