A coalition of groups on Wednesday launched a campaign to secure marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples in New Jersey.

The formation of New Jersey United for Marriage was announced during an event held in Asbury Park.

The campaign will work to secure the votes needed to override Governor Chris Christie's veto of a marriage bill approved last year by lawmakers. Chances look good in the Senate, where 24 senators – 3 shy of the two-thirds needed for an override – voted in favor of the bill last year. However, supporters need to find 12 votes in the Assembly, half of which must come from Republicans.

New Jersey is one of four states that recognize gay couples with civil unions. However, civil unions are not recognized by the federal government.

“With federal protections now available thanks to the removal of DOMA's 'gay exception,' Governor Christie's veto is costing New Jersey families very real protections that only marriage provides,” Richard Carlbom, director of state campaigns at Freedom to Marry, said in a written statement. “This new, broad-based campaign brings the best of the movement to the important task of ensuring that loving and committed New Jersey couples, who deserve to be treated just like all other Americans, no longer have to cross the river to get married and have their marriages respected.”

New Jersey United for Marriage includes Garden State Equality, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the New Jersey chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the American Unity Fund, Freedom to Marry, Gill Action Fund and Lambda Legal.