A gay New York state senator has said that the Senate could vote on gay marriage in the next few weeks.

According to Democrat Tom Duane, who is the state’s only openly gay senator, the bill will not be dealt with immediately but could be discussed in a special session called by governor David Paterson.

“We are not going to bring up marriage on September 10th,” Duane said. “I am hopeful that we will bring it up when the governor calls us all back into session. He hasn’t set that date; it’ll probably be in late September.”

The bill passed the New York Assembly 89-52 in May and the Senate is now its final hurdle, as Paterson has strongly signalled he will sign it if it reaches his desk.

The move would make New York the sixth state to legalise same-sex marriage after Vermont, Iowa, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Hampshire. It was briefly allowed in California until a referendum stripped the right.

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