Same-sex marriage bill advances in N.J.

The New Jersey Assembly’s Judiciary Committee has voted to advance legislation that would legalize same-sex marriage in the Garden State. The move capped a day of testimony from opponents and supporters of the measure, which now faces a fuil Assemby vote Feb. 16.

Even though Gov. Chris Christie has vowed to veto the bill, Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, D-Mercer, said the Legislature’s action is not an exercise in futility.

“I don’t count the governor out. I think he can be a reasonable person. At the end of the day he may be convinced by members of his own party,” Gusciora said. “Certainly there are fundraisers that are in favor of marriage equality.”

Democrats anticipate finding the 41 votes needed to pass the bill in the full Assembly. Republicans, meanwhile, say an override vote would fall short.

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Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll, R-Morris, said he understands, however, why Democrats are moving ahead with the measure despite Christie’s promise of a veto.

“If the thing is the right thing to do and their perspective is it is, then even if it’s not necessarily going to pass or not going to pass today, you might want to set the stage for later,” Carroll said. “I understand it. I don’t thing they’re going to get the override, but it’s a worthwhile process, I guess.”

The governor wants a referendum on marriage equality, but sponsors of the measure says it’s a civil rights issue that should not be on the ballot.

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