New Jersey Deputy Assembly Majority Leader Reed Gusciora has called on Assembly leaders to take action on his gay marriage bill during the upcoming lame-duck session.

“I believe the time is ripe for this important civil rights measure, which will make the difference for many New Jerseyans who wish to form a union without the stigma of second class citizenship,” Gusciora said in a statement.

The 51-year-old lawmaker called on Assembly Judiciary Chair Peter Barnes and Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver to post the measure during the chamber's brief lame-duck session. Gusciora introduced his bill in June.

Gay marriage activists have returned to court to win the right to marry in New Jersey, where a state Supreme Court decision ushered in civil unions for gay and lesbian couples five years ago.

Gusciora, the Legislature's only openly gay member, said that recognition falls “woefully short.”

“The fact remains that there are countless gay couples in this state that own property, pay taxes and raise children here, yet are sidelined by a lack of legal recognition of their marital bonds. If marriage is a contractual relationship sanctioned by the state government, then it should be done on an equitable basis.”

Governor Chris Christie has previously threatened to veto a gay marriage law, if approved by lawmakers.