New Jersey State Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman on Thursday introduced a measure which would amend the constitution to permit gay marriage in the state.

Bateman's resolution would ask voters to decide whether gay and lesbian couples should be given the right to marry.

“Let's stop the political games and let the people of New Jersey decide,” Bateman said in a statement. “Marriage equality advocates and opponents would both have the ability to register their opinion at the ballot box. Nobody would be disenfranchised on either side of the issue.”

Republican Governor Chris Christie recently called on Democratic lawmakers to abandon passage of a marriage bill and ask voters instead to decide.

The Senate and Assembly are expected to vote on the legislation next week, despite a threatened veto from Christie.

Bateman said his measure was modeled after a similar question in Maine proposed by gay marriage advocates.

“This amendment is unique in that, unlike in other other states that have put the issue before voters, it would permit same sex marriage rather than prohibit it,” said Bateman, a Republican from Somerset. “This is not a so-called 'Defense of Marriage Amendment.' I am not sure why putting this to voters is acceptable to advocates in Maine, but not in New Jersey.”

Democrats have previously said that civil rights should not be put up for a popular vote.

“I'm disappointed that Sen. Bateman would rather politicize an issue that should be a legislative vote of conscience rather than an opportunity by him and his allies to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians,” Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, chief sponsor of the bill in the Assembly, told the Star-Ledger. “Any time you provide voters an opportunity to make a judgment of one group over the other, it violates the Madisonian principle that are meant to protect majority whims over a given minority.”