New Jersey Assembly passes gay marriage bill


Gov. Chris Christie at a press conference at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ, on Feb. 16, 2012.


Michael N. Todaro

The New Jersey Assembly has passed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in the Garden State, Reuters reported. The legislation now goes to Gov. Chris Christie, who has promised to veto it immediately. Christie, along with most state Republicans, wants gay marriage to be put to a popular vote, the Associated Press reported.

Assembly members voted 41 to 33 in favor of gay marriage, Reuters reported. On Monday, the New Jersey Senate approved the bill 24 to 16.

More from GlobalPost: NJ Senate passes gay marriage bill

“I really had problems and struggled with this," Democrat Cleopatra Tucker, a deaconess in her church, told the Los Angeles Times. But she said she had decided to support the Marriage Equality and Religious Exemption Act because "this bill today is not a religious issue. It's a civil rights issue.”

If Christie makes good on his vow to veto the bill, state legislators have until the end of 2013 to override the veto with a two-thirds majority in favor of gay marriage, Reuters reported. However, the Democrats, which currently control both houses of the New Jersey legislature, do not appear to have enough votes to do this, according to Reuters.

Same-sex marriage is legal in the District of Columbia and seven states, including Washington state, which passed its legislation just this month.

More from GlobalPost: Washington state governor Christine Gregoire signs gay marriage into law