|Note to Pres. Obama: This is what a fierce advocate looks like.|
“For me, this is personal,” Mr. Cuomo said at one point, according to two people with direct knowledge of the session.
The governor’s remarks, which participants in the meeting described as unexpectedly forceful and impassioned, suggested that Mr. Cuomo and his aides intend to become deeply involved in overseeing a campaign over the next few months to permit such marriages in the state.
And they were especially striking in light of Mr. Cuomo’s long and at times fraught relationship with the gay community.
The legalization of same-sex marriage still faces daunting challenges in New York, where it was defeated in the State Senate two years ago by a wide margin. But Mr. Cuomo’s commitment to using his political savvy and muscle could give advocates something they had long lacked: a unifying, persuasive leader who understands the wiles and ways of Albany.
That could prove crucial now that the Senate is controlled by Republicans, none of whom voted to legalize same-sex marriage in 2009, when the Democrats held a narrow majority.
“This meeting was intended to send a statement directly from the governor that this state is going to lead on this issue — and he is going to lead it,” said Richard Socarides, the president of the gay rights group Equality Matters, who participated in the hourlong session at the Capitol.