NEW YORK – New York could vote within days on a bill making the state the sixth in the country to allow gay marriage, officials said.

Same-sex nups have previously failed to pass in New York but newly-elected Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo is championing the measure and on Tuesday submitted a bill extending full marital rights to couples regardless of gender.

"From the fight for women's suffrage to the struggle for civil rights, New Yorkers have been on the right side of history. But on the issue of marriage equality, our state has fallen behind," Cuomo said in a statement.

Lawmakers break on Monday for a recess, meaning the showdown could come as early as this week.

If the law is passed, New York would join Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and the District of Columbia -- home to the capital Washington -- in allowing the controversial measure.

Cuomo is assured of support in the Democrat-controlled lower house but the state Senate turned down a similar attempt under his predecessor David Paterson in 2009.

The bill needs 32 votes in the 62-seat Senate to pass. So far, 30 senators have promised support.

State Senator Jim Alesi, who until recently has been the only Republican backing the bill, told the Wall Street Journal: "I'm not only voting for the bill, I'm encouraging others who feel like they can to do it as well."

Image courtesy of Pat Arnow