The New York Assembly passed a bill last night to legalise gay marriage.

After four hours of debate, the bill passed 89-52 and will now go to the Senate for a vote.

If it passes a Senate vote, it will go to Governor David Paterson, who has clearly signalled he will sign it. The bill would make New York the sixth state to legalise same-sex marriage if New Hampshire does not allow it in the next few days.

However, there are fears there are not enough votes in the Senate to pass the bill.

Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith, a Queens Democrat, said this week he won’t bring the issue to the Senate floor until the 32 votes are secured.

“If we get the 32 I will do it,” he said.

In a statement, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said: “I applaud … members of both parties for moving this historic legislation forward.

“I hope New York will soon become the latest state to adopt a law whose time has come.”

In 2007, a similar bill passed the Assembly 85-61 but failed in the Senate.

Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont and Maine already recognise gay marriage.

New Hampshire Governor John Lynch has days to decide whether to sign a bill allowing same-sex marriage in his state.