A bill that would make New Jersey the
seventh state to legalize gay marriage cleared a Senate panel on
The Democrat-controlled Senate
Judiciary Committee approved and forwarded the measure to the full
Senate on an 8 to 4 party-line vote.
As the committee heard testimony from
supporters and opponents, Governor Chris Christie reiterated his
opposition to gay marriage, called on lawmakers to put the question
before voters and pledged to veto the bill if it reached his desk.
In recent remarks, Christie appeared to
be softening his stance on the issue, declining to say whether he
planned to sign the legislation, veto it or allow it to become law
without his signature.
“Let the people of New Jersey decide
what is right for the state,” he said.
Last week, Senator Raymond Lesniak, the
measure's primary sponsor in the Senate, said the bill could have
sufficient support to override a veto from Christie.
Lesniak told The
Wall Street Journal that he estimates there are between 24
and 27 votes in the Senate in favor of marriage equality, four of
which are Republicans. Twenty-seven votes are needed to override a
“I'm wishing and hoping,” Lesniak
told the paper.