By Jill Colvin and Tom Liddy
MANHATTAN - A measure legalizing same-sex marriage passed the state Assembly Wednesday night, moving it one step closer to becoming law.
The bill, which was approved by a vote of 80-63, still must pass the Senate. There, the bill needs just one more vote to secure a majority to pass. The legislative session ends June 20.
"This is a matter of equity and justice," said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. "New Yorkers should have the right to marry whom they choose.
"Partners unable to enter into a civil marriage, and their children, lack basic legal protections taken for granted by married couples."
The Assembly has passed gay marriage bills before — first in 2007 and then twice in 2009.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo lauded the move.
"The vote by the State Assembly has moved New York one step closer to making marriage equality a reality," he said.
"I applaud these legislators' prompt and corageous support on this measure, which will finally allow same-sex couples the freedom to marry and provide them with hundreds of rights that others take for granted."
Legalizing same-sex marriage has gained momentum in recent weeks as several lawmakers have thrown their weight behind the provision.
New York would join Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire and Washington, DC as the only states that allow same sex unions.
New York currently recognizes same-sex unions from other states.
"Today the New York State Assembly affirmed, as it has before, the right of all New Yorkers to marry the person they love," said city Public Advocate Bill De Blasio.