A bill which would make New Jersey the
seventh state to legalize gay marriage cleared an Assembly panel on
The Assembly Judiciary Committee
approved the measure with a 5 to 2 party-line vote after hearing more
than 6 hours of testimony from dozens of supporters and opponents.
Republican Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll said he could not
support the measure because it would not benefit society.
In 2009, Carroll
created controversy when he said gay relationships are of no
The move comes a week after the
Democrat-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee approved and forwarded
the measure to the full Senate.
Opposition to the bill came mostly from
An exchange between Chairman Peter J.
Barnes and Greg Quinlan, the president of Parents and Friends of
Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX), a group that claims homosexuality can and
should be altered, became heated when Quinlan demanded an
apology from lawmakers for calling opponents “bigots.”
However, the hearing also included many
people of various faiths testifying in favor of marriage equality.
calls on New Jersey lawmakers to let her gay dads marry.)
Last week, Republican Governor Chris
Christie pledged to veto the bill if it reached his desk and called
on lawmakers to let voters decide the issue.
Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, a Democrat
and a co-sponsor of the bill, said the measure remains 5 votes shy of
passage in the Assembly.