Count Republican consultant Bill O’Reilly (no, not the guy on TV) among the admirers of the “masterful” campaign by the coalition of gay-rights groups that is pushing for same-sex marriage.

O’Reilly — who is credited with running a strong campaign for Republican comptroller candidate Harry Wilson and for helping elect Rob Astorino county executive in Democratic-heavy Westchester — writes on his blog today that New Yorkers United For Marriage should be studied by PR students.

Writes O’Reilly:

The mix of supporters was a brilliant blend. All likable people, touching all necessary demographics. But more importantly, the ads were not forced. They were neither angry, nor in your face. They just began laying out a background conversation, without riling up opposition.

The group includes the Log Cabin Republicans, as well as the The Empire State Pride Agenda, Freedom to Marry, The Human Rights Campaign and Marriage Equality New York. As Liz noted yesterday, the group also has recruited former Senate GOP aide John McArdle.

O’Reilly, one of the smartest guys in the politics biz, predicted way back on Jan. 5, the day Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave his State of the State address, that same-sex marriage would be legalized this year. That was before Cuomo said definitively he would seek a bill on the issue this session.

A vote on gay marriage failed in the Senate in 2009, 38-24, when Democrats controlled the chamber. But as O’Reilly noted in January, a gay marriage bill is non-fiscal, can be used as a bargaining chip and allows Cuomo to keep his progressive supports.

Today’s post is well worth the read for its laying out of the issue.