Gay rights group are cheering passage of a gay marriage bill in New Jersey, and jeering Governor Chris Christie's promise to veto the measure.

After a lengthy and emotional debate, the New Jersey Assembly on Thursday approved the bill with a 42 to 33 vote.

“Since Stonewall, we have been on a 40-year journey toward our freedom,” Steve Goldstein, CEO and chair of Garden State Equality, said in a statement. “Today, the legislature has brought us to the edge of the promised land. We know the governor won't let us enter, we finally behold the view of our dreams and we will never turn back.”

Kate Kendell, executive director of The National Center for Lesbian Rights, urged Christie to sign the bill into law.

“We urge Gov. Christie to demonstrate the courage his office demands and sign the bill that the elected representatives of the people of New Jersey support,” Kendell said. “By doing so he will strengthen the families, culture, and future of his state.”

Evan Wolfson of Freedom to Marry agreed, saying Christie “has planted his feet on the wrong side of history, and the wrong side of the majority for marriage in New Jersey and nationwide.”

“If the governor sticks with his threat of a veto, Freedom to Marry will work throughout the entire remainder of the legislative session, supporting local families, leaders, and advocates as they make the case and win the extra handful of votes need to override the veto and do right by these families.”