Gov. Andrew Cuomo has endorsed Republican Sen. Stephen Saland, one of the four Republican lawmakers who backed the same-sex marriage bill in the chamber, for re-election, a spokesman for the governor confirmed this afternoon.

The endorsement was first reported by Gannet’s Albany bureau.

“The Governor believes that one of the problems in our political system is the influence of extremists on both sides of the aisle,” said Cuomo spokesman Matt Wing. “He is endorsing Senator Saland because he has consistently had the courage to do what was right despite political challenges especially when it came to voting for marriage equality.”

Saland, R-Poughkeepsie, narrowly won his Republican primary against Neil DiCarlo, who had slammed the longtime incumbent for backing the marriage law.

DiCarlo won the Conservative Party line in a write-in vote. Saland also has a Democratic opponent: Terry Gipson.

Saland, along with Republican Sens. Roy McDonald, of Saratoga, James Alesi of Perinton in Monroe County and Mark Grisanti of Buffalo backed the measure, giving it the necessary votes for its passage in June 2011.

Alesi declined to run for re-election this year. Grisanti, who faced a primary challenge from Republican Kevin Stocker, won his primary comfortably. McDonald lost his bid for the Republican line to County Clerk Kathy Marchione.

Cuomo had pledged to support McDonald had he continued on the Independence Party line through November, but the lawmaker declined to continue his campaign.

After McDonald ended his campaign, Cuomo was not quick to say whether he would endorse Saland or Grisanti, though he acknowledged both took tough votes last year for the marriage bill.

Saland was instrumental in crafting the same-sex marriage legislation, along with an amendment that guaranteed protections for religious insitutions.

The images of Cuomo, a popular Democratic governor, have been used by the Republican state senators in their ads and mailers to tout their good working relationship with him and his fiscal agenda, including a 2 percent cap on property tax increases.

The Senate is divided 33 to 29 in favor of the GOP and Cuomo has not endorsed a full Democratic takeover of the chamber.

The announcement coms the same day that a mid-level federal court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act. And it also comes after Cuomo announced he may campaign out-of-state for President Obama.