One day after defeat of a gay marriage
bill in nearby New York, New Jersey says it's ready to debate the
“On Monday in the Judiciary
Committee, we're going to vote on marriage equality,” New Jersey
state Senator Ray Lesniak told a crowd of over 650 gay marriage
supporters who had gathered at the Statehouse Thursday, the
Lesniak said he believed the measure
would be approved by the committee and reach the Senate floor by
Thursday, December 10.
“And God be willing, we'll have 21
votes,” he said.
Lawmakers are being pressured to
approve a gay marriage bill before Governor-elect Chris Christie, a
gay marriage opponent, takes office in mid-January.
But enthusiasm to hold the vote is on
the wane after Maine voters “vetoed” a gay marriage law approved
by lawmakers in the spring and senators in New York overwhelmingly
rejected a similar measure on Wednesday.
The defeat of Governor Jon Corzine is
also seen as a referendum on gay marriage. Corzine promised to sign
the bill, while Christie supports amending the New Jersey
constitution to ban gay marriage.
Canceling the vote, however, would come
with dire consequences, supporters warned.
“If Democrats in New Jersey don't
lead the way, as they promised, to pass marriage equality in 2009,
there could be a mutiny against the New Jersey Democratic Party the
likes of which this state has never seen,” Steven Goldstein, CEO of
Garden State Equality, the state's largest gay rights advocate, told
the AP after Wednesday's gay marriage defeat in New York.