Empire State Pride Agenda Executive Director Ross Levi said on the Capital Pressroom radio show this morning that the coalition of groups backing gay marriage legalization this year can be more effective than the 2009 effort to pass the measure.

From his interview:

“We obviously need to do better. Certainly one way we’re trying to do that is show the LGBT community is united and speaking with one voice. That is why the pride agenda has joined with other national and state organizations to form New Yorkers United for Marriage.”

The campaign announced earlier today that the League of Women Voters’ New York chapter was joining the effort as well.

The late 2009 vote in the Democratic-led Senate failed 38-24 and was disheartening to gay-rights groups who feared more failed votes in a blue state like New York would slow momentum for same-sex marriage in other states.

This year’s effort, with a governor who needs to shore up his standing with the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, is seen as a more concerted effort by the groups. Levi said his office is working on several lawmakers who are seen as being on the fence. Those mentioned in the past include GOP Sens. Mark Grisanti of Buffalo, Greg Ball of the Hudson Valley, and Democrats Shirley Huntley, Joe Addabbo, both of Queens.

Levi also responded to an email sent out by Sen. Ruben Diaz, D-Bronx, an ardent opponent of gay marriage, who said he was the subject of hate mail from pro-same-sex marriage people over the weekend. Levi said name-calling was wrong, but added:

People who feel the sting of discrimination sometimes respond in very emotional ways. That’s very human. People respond very strongly when they feel they’re being attacked.