A poll released Thursday showing increased support among New Yorkers for legalizing gay marriage is bolstering a new effort to revive a bill narrowly defeated in the State Legislature just more than a year ago.
The Quinnipiac University poll found 56 percent of New Yorkers support legalizing gay marriage. That's almost a complete reversal from 2004, when 55 percent opposed legalization.
Regionally, 54 percent of upstaters, 55 percent of New York City voters, and 61 percent of suburban voters supported legalizing same-sex marriage.
Quinnipiac polls in 2009, the latest year the issue was tracked by the pollster, showed 46 percent of voters supported the measure in May, 51 percent supported it in June and 47 percent supported gay marriage in December of that year. None showed support that was beyond the margin of error, as in Thursday's survey.
The Republican-led Senate could take the issue up as early as this spring. The measure has strong support in the Democrat-led Assembly and Democratic Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo supports gay marriage.
The bill was defeated in the then-Democrat controlled Senate 24-38 in December 2009. Thirty-two votes are needed to pass legislation. Six of the senators who voted against the bill are no longer in the Senate.
Much of the opposition was based on religious grounds. Supporters framed the issue as a civil right, arguing that gay New Yorkers are being denied the same financial, real property and other rights of married couples.
"We look forward to the governor and the Legislature working together to carry out the will of the people and pass this legislation," said Ross D. Levi, executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda.