New York Governor David Paterson has asked the state legislature to vote Tuesday on a bill that would allow same-sex marriage.

If it takes place, the vote in the state's upper house could make New York the highest-profile US battleground on the contentious issue of gay nuptials.

The senate press service in the state capital Albany said late Monday that it was not yet sure whether the body would hold a vote as requested by Paterson, a Democrat.

In May, the lower house of the state assembly voted overwhelmingly in favor of gay weddings.

But there is far less support in the senate, making the outcome of a vote hard to predict.

The issue is being raised in New York days after voters in Maine voted in a referendum to overturn a gay marriage law passed by their state legislature in May.

Maine was the third state where voters repealed the local government's approval of same-sex marriage rights, following California and Hawaii. Gay marriage has not yet won a popular vote in any US state.

Five states that have moved to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples have done so through court rulings or votes in the state legislature.

Those states are Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts and Vermont. New Hampshire will allow gay marriage starting in January.