New York (CNN) -- New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed a bill Tuesday that would legalize same-sex marriage, effectively delivering on a promise he has made since taking office in January.
The Marriage Equality Act would grant same-sex couples equal rights to marry "as well as hundreds of rights, benefits and protections that are currently limited to married couples of the opposite sex," according to a news release from Cuomo's office.
In a statement accompanying the release, Cuomo said the state has "been on the right side of history," citing such civil rights battles as women's suffrage.
"But on the issue of marriage equality, our state has fallen behind," he said.
Cuomo has been a vocal proponent of allowing same-sex couples in New York to marry. In March, he released a statement saying that he was in the midst of a series of meetings to discuss such a marriage equality bill.
"Marriage equality is a matter of fairness and legal security for thousands of families in this state -- not of religion or culture," Cuomo said Tuesday in announcing the proposed bill.
Although New York does not grant same-sex marriages, a 2008 appellate court ruling upheld the right of couples to have their same-sex marriages recognized if they are performed elsewhere.
The Marriage Equality Act would amend the state's Domestic Relations Law to say, among other changes, that "no application for a marriage license shall be denied on the ground that the parties are of the same or a different sex."
Democratic state Rep. Daniel O'Donnell said the bill has support in the state House.
"I've introduced it here in the House with 67 sponsors, which is an unprecedented number of sponsors for a bill," he said.
The state Senate rejected a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in 2009.
Five states -- Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont and New Hampshire -- and the District of Columbia currently grant same-sex marriage licenses.
CNN's Laura Dolan contributed to this report.