The New Jersey Assembly on Thursday will vote on a gay marriage bill, just days after the measure cleared the state Senate with greater support than expected.

The measure is expected to clear the Democrat-led Assembly, but Governor Chris Christie, a rising star in the GOP, on Tuesday repeated his promise to veto the bill if lawmakers sent it to his desk.

“If they pass it on Thursday and send it to my desk, believe me I will take very swift action on the bill and then we can move on to the things the people of New Jersey say are most important to them,” Christie told reporters. “Which is creating jobs, lowering taxes and continuing the New Jersey comeback. And that's what we should be focused on. Not the last month that we spent, what really is an act of theater on their part because they know it's not going to happen.”

But the debate in not likely to end. Democratic leaders have nearly two years to override the governor's veto. Based on Monday's vote, supporters remain 3 votes shy of that goal in the Senate.

New Jersey currently recognizes gay and lesbian couples with civil unions, which Christie has said he supports. Marriage supporters say civil unions are flawed and that separate is never equal.