A gay marriage bill in New Jersey
remains in limbo Friday after its Senate sponsors rerouted it to the
The sponsors, Senators Raymond J.
Lesniak and Loretta Weinberg, both Democrats, requested
a hearing in the General Assembly before the full Senate voted.
Senators were scheduled to vote on the legislation on Thursday after
the bill narrowly won approval from a key Senate committee on Monday.
Assembly leaders, however, have yet to
signal whether they'll take up the issue. The Newark-based
Star-Ledger reported that as of Friday Democrats had yet to
set a hearing date on the measure.
“But I must emphasize that no hearing
has been scheduled and that I am continuing to discuss this issue
with our caucus to gauge whether there is enough support for it,”
Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts, a Democrat from Camden, told the
Time is of the essence for supporters
of the measure who are pressuring the Legislature to approve the bill
during a lame-duck session before Governor-elect Chris Christie, a
gay marriage opponent, takes office in mid-January. Defeat now would
postpone gay marriage in the Garden State for at least the next four
But a swirl of recent events are also
likely weighing heavily on the minds of lawmakers. In November,
Maine voters “vetoed” a gay marriage bill approved by lawmakers
in the spring and the New York Senate overwhelmingly agreed to kill a
gay marriage bill. The defeat of Governor Jon Corzine, a gay
marriage supporter, has also likely spooked lawmakers.
A New Jersey pass on gay marriage on
the heels of coming up short in Maine and New York would embolden
opponents in others states where the issue remains in play, including
the District of Columbia and California.