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New Jersey

New Jersey state Senate approves same-sex marriage bill

Bill heads to Assembly, where it's expected to pass
Monday, February 13, 2012

TRENTON, N.J. — The New Jersey state Senate on Monday voted in favor of a bill that would legalize marriage between same-sex couples, despite a vow by the Governor to veto such a bill.

By a vote of 24-16, the bill garnered bipartisan support with two Republicans voting in its favor; the Senate chamber broke out in applause and hugs from supporters as the legislation passed. It was a larger majority than had been expected by the bill’s backers.

The measure now heads to the State Assembly, which is expected to pass it Thursday.

Monday’s vote contrasts sharply with the previous vote on marriage equality taken in the state legislature.

In January 2010, gay marriage supporters thought they had built a narrow majority in the Senate, but senators, including Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-West Deptford) began to defect, and the measure was defeated 20-14.

The vote came in the last days of the term of Governor Jon Corzine, who had promised to sign the bill if it passed.

In June 2011, Sweeney apologized in a speech on the Senate floor voting against the bill, calling it “the biggest mistake of my legislative career.”

Now, with Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, in office, the bill faces even greater hurdles — Christie has vowed to veto the bill if it reached his desk, and instead said that gay marriage should be decided by the voters.

“I think this is not an issue that should rest solely in my hands, or the hands of the Senate President or the Speaker or the other 118 members of the Legislature,” Christie said at a town hall meeting last month. “Let’s let the people of New Jersey decide what is right for the state.”

Sweeney, now one of the measure’s Democratic sponsors, said civil rights issues like the right to marry are guaranteed under the state’s constitution and do not require a public vote.

“Civil rights is not to be placed on the ballot. It’s to be voted on by the people in this house,” Sweeney said.

If Christie does veto the bill, proponents will have until the end of the legislative session — January 2014 — to garner the necessary support to override his veto, which would require 27 votes in the Senate and 54 votes in the Assembly.

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10 more reader comments:

  1. same in WA!!! :)

    Posted on Monday, February 13, 2012 at 6:42pm
  2. This is great NEWS. Now “Fat” has to sign it…Do what’s RIGHT~~

    Posted on Monday, February 13, 2012 at 6:43pm
  3. Keep it rollin.. this is awsome …

    Posted on Monday, February 13, 2012 at 6:47pm
  4. WIN!

    Posted on Monday, February 13, 2012 at 6:49pm
  5. BAZINGA!!!! WIN! WIN!

    Posted on Monday, February 13, 2012 at 6:50pm
  6. yay but – Christie won’t sign the bill – he said he will veto and give it to the state as referendum to vote on it in Nov. That is not right – this is a civil rights issue. I dont’ get to vote on straight people’s right to marriage and let me tell ya- there are a lot of straights out there who have no business getting hitched to anyone.

    Posted on Monday, February 13, 2012 at 6:55pm
  7. They really need to work on getting the 3 additional votes they need to overturn his veto.

    Posted on Monday, February 13, 2012 at 7:00pm
  8. Go Jersey!

    Posted on Monday, February 13, 2012 at 7:00pm
  9. Christie is a coward and won’t stand up for what is right particularly if it is controversial.

    Posted on Monday, February 13, 2012 at 7:24pm
  10. Christie has no business being governor. He thinks he’s always right. He’ll never sign it

    Posted on Monday, February 13, 2012 at 7:47pm