New Jersey legislators pass marriage equality

New Jersey legislators pass marriage equality

New Jersey lawmakers have passed a bill that would provide same-sex couples the right to wed – a move put forth in defiance of the state’s Republican governor, who’s vowed to veto the measure and has instead called for a referendum to settle the issue.

State assembly members on Thursday voted 42-33, with two members abstaining, in favor of the “Marriage Equality and Religious Exemption Act.” The Senate approved the measure on Monday by a 24 to 16 count.

But Gov. Chris Christie has said the issue “should not be decided by 121 people in the statehouse in Trenton.”

The governor is expected to “act swiftly” to knock it down when the bill reaches his desk, said Michael Drewniak, a spokesman for Christie.

Recent polling, meanwhile, suggests that New Jersey voters are in favor of legalizing such unions.

Fifty-two percent of state voters approve the measure, according to a recent Quinnipiac University poll.

Reactions from pro-LGBT organizations:

Freedom To Marry:
“Sadly, Governor Chris 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 needed to override the veto and do right by these families.”

Human Rights Campaign:
“Today, the New Jersey State Legislature sent a powerful message that all its citizens should be treated equally under the law, and that all families deserve the same protections,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “Governor Christie may veto this legislation, but he is out of step with the majority of voters on this issue. We will not give up until marriage equality becomes a reality in New Jersey. HRC has been proud to partner with Garden State Equality (GSE) in achieving this historic legislative victory.”

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