In a move that infuriated gay rights activists, New York State gave the thumbs down yesterday to a law that would have legalized gay marriage. “The New York measure needed 32 votes to pass and failed by a wider-than-expected margin, falling eight votes short in a 24-38 decision by the state Senate. The Assembly had earlier approved the bill, and Gov. David Paterson, perhaps the bill's strongest advocate, had pledged to sign it. After the vote, Paterson called Wednesday one of his saddest days in 20 years of public service, and he criticized senators who he said support gay marriage but "didn't have the intestinal fortitude to vote for it. Senate sponsor Thomas Duane, a Manhattan Democrat and the Legislature's first openly gay member, expressed anger and disappointment. ‘I wasn't expecting betrayal,’ he said.”