patersonALBANY, NY – Sources close to the governor’s office are reporting that Gov. David A. Paterson intends to introduce legislation Thursday that will legalize the right of same sex couples to marry in the state of New York.

The governor signaled such an intent last week during several radio appearances, and seems clearly determined to follow through on his promise despite the fact he apparently does not have the votes to pass such a bill.

“I’m going to put the bill out and just let people fight it out,” Paterson told Buffalo radio station WGR-AM (550). “I would like to see the legislature just debate the bills that people think are controversial.”

According to Tuesday’s reports, the governor has made it clear in recent days that he wants the state legislature to consider and debate a same-sex marriage bill even if the votes to pass it are not there.

“His reasoning, which some gay rights advocates have challenged, is that New York should make a statement that it is committed to treating same-sex couples the same way it treats opposite-sex couples,” The New York Times noted,

The governor’s announcement reportedly will take place at 10 a.m. Thursday in his Midtown Manhattan offices.

According to New York Magazine, Paterson is gambling that the tide is in his favor, even if state politics are not.

“By putting the bill before the legislature before supporters are confident it will pass, he’s pulling the rug out from under them,” the magazine noted. “If the bill fails, or languishes on the Senate floor, they’ll be set back another year, and a public signal will be sent that the state is not ready. If it passes, it will be as a result of their hard work, and he’ll get the credit.”

Stay tuned.