New York mayor Michael Bloomberg has urged the state to pass a bill legalising gay marriage.

Speaking last night at the annual dinner of the Lesbian, Gay Bisexual and Transgender Community Center in Manhattan, he said lawmakers must “do the right thing”.

“I think you see that the tide is turning, that support is mounting,” he said.

“It’s still not going to be easy. There are people who don’t agree, but it’s incumbent on all of us to explain to people that this really is a basic right that people should have, and I think that it’s time for Albany to set politics aside and do the right thing, and pass the gay marriage bill.”

Mr Bloomberg also paid tribute to US senator Charles Schumer, who was not in attendance, for becoming the latest figure to announce his support for gay marriage after years of opposition.

He concluded: “Make no mistake, the time will come, I think in the nearer term and in the further out, and we will pass this bill.”

The assembly passed the gay marriage bill in 2007 but senate majority leader Malcolm Smith has said he does not have enough votes to pass it in his chamber right now.