A bill that would legalize gay marriage
in New Jersey is expected to be introduced next week, the AP
According to the report, Democrats have
vowed to make marriage equality a priority.
While both houses of the New Jersey
Legislature are controlled by Democrats, Republican Governor Chris
Christie has already said he would veto any such bill.
Gay marriage supporters returned to
court after a 2010 effort to approve the legislation fizzed in the
Senate. New Jersey currently recognizes gay and lesbian couples with
civil unions, but marriage supporters insist the law is flawed.
“The world has changed since 2009
when the bill last came up,” said Steven Goldstein, chairman of
Garden State Equality, the state's largest group lobbying for a
change in the marriage law. “I don't think anyone has seen a civil
rights movement accelerate so quickly.”
A draft of the bill would exempt clergy
and religious institutions from participating in a same-sex ceremony.
Democrats have said they believe they
have the votes to secure passage. But without Christie's signature
or GOP support, the bill is likely to die on the governor's desk.
New Jersey is the third state behind
Maryland and Washington to announce the introduction of a gay
marriage bill during the upcoming 2012 legislative session.