New Jersey Senate Passes Marriage Equality Bill 24-16


The New Jersey Senate has passed the marriage equality bill by a strong vote of 24-16, with two Republicans voting in favor of the legislation.

27 votes are needed to override a promised veto by Governor Chris Christie, however.

The AP reports: "Monday's vote contrasts with the only other gay-marriage vote taken in the Legislature. In January 2010, gay marriage supporters thought they had built a narrow majority in the Senate, but senators began to defect, and the measure was defeated 20-14. Since then, Senate President Stephen Sweeney, a Democrat from West Deptford, has changed his position. He says he regrets abstaining two years ago and has made gay marriage recognition a top priority."

The Assembly is expected to vote on the measure on Thursday.



  1. MikeBoston says

    Christie is not going to be happy with this. Now he has to either sign the bill (or let it pass without signature) which he thinks would limit his future in federal republican politics or veto a bill that has clear support in both houses of the state house which will cause trouble for him at home.

    I hope Christie realizes he a somewhat unique opportunity to do the right thing even though he disagrees with it personally.

  2. Robert in NYC says

    He’s screwed either way. Being the bigot that he is, he’ll do NOM’s work and veto and bring the issue to a referendum to appease the religious freaks and tea partyers.

  3. gr8guyca says

    I don’t know NJ politics. Are 3 more votes possible for an override?
    Christie’s gambit of proposing an initiative didn’t work to stop passage. It’s a good political chess game to watch.

  4. Robert in NYC says

    Searunner, thanks for clarifying. Are you absolutely sure about that? I don’t trust coward Christie to do anything decent. I don’t know anything about the NJ system but when it passes the assembly, when does it become law? I’m reading different stories, some say it can become law after 45 days without signature if he vetos it. Since he’s calling for a referendum, why would he say that if only the legislature can call for such a thing, or does he know something we don’t?

  5. TampaZeke says

    It’s always nice to see Democrats finding the balls to finally do the right thing at almost the exact moment that another obstacle is put into place to block marriage equality. This could have been said and done at the last vote, with a willing governor waiting to sign but when that was the case JUST enough Democrats voted against it but as soon as a Republican governor is elected and a veto is guaranteed JUST enough Democrats find their conscience but NOT QUITE enough to override the veto.

    It’s so very goddamned frustrating!

  6. MikeBoston says

    If it sits on his desk for 45 days without signature or veto, it becomes law by default. He has 3 options, sign and it becomes law, veto it and it does not, or do nothing and it becomes law after 45 days.

    He really doesn’t want to commit either way – veto it and he is ignoring the majority of his constituents and both houses; sign it and he can no longer be considered a conservative GOPer.

    I hope he realizes he is screwed either way and chooses to do the right thing. He’s not a bad guy overall – just too much of a politician.

  7. Chris says

    I wonder if we could actually topple the religious right by praying for Christie to sign this?

    In all seriousness, I do hope Christie comes to his senses and signs this. I will happily donate to his campaign for re-election if he does sign it

  8. Contrarian says

    Oh all this good will toward Fatty Arbuckle from the comments here. A bunch of chubby chasers I see. Snap out of it, as Cher said to Nicholas Cage in “Moonstruck”.

    Christie wants, needs, yearns to be on Mormon man’s ticket as VP. That means a veto as sure as S**T. It will not be put up for a referendum by Dems because the state is “Catlick” and as the “Joisy” shore crowd would say: “we ain’t voting for none of youse tutti-fruitees”. Besides the argument in the Prop8 litigation was, in part, that you don’t put people’s rights up for a popular vote.

  9. Patric says

    GR8GUYCA, getting three senators who voted against us today to vote to override is of course possible but it will be very challenging, to say the least, to pull that off. Only two of those who voted against us today were Dems and one of them is an African-American senator who, despite having a son who is an elected official and supportive of marriage equality, has been pretty clear that he’s against us. Getting Republicans who voted against us on the initial vote to nonetheless vote to override their Gov’s veto will presumably be even more challenging.

    In Vermont in 2009, where we achieved marriage equality by overriding the veto of an allegedly “moderate” Republican governor, we picked up votes between the time of the initial vote and the override vote and those votes were critical as we didn’t have 2/3 in the original vote. However, if I am not mistaken, most of the pick-ups from the initial vote to the override vote were among Dems while we lost at least one Republican who initially voted yes but then refused to vote to override the Republican governor. It was also perhaps significant there that the Republican governor did not apparently lobby Republican legislators to vote to uphold his veto. In any event, I think all of this means that New Jersey presents somewhat more challenging circumstances. Even if we could persuade the two Dems who voted against us to vote to override Christie (and as noted, in at least one of those two cases, I doubt we could), we’d still need to get at least one Republican who voted against us on the initial vote to nonetheless vote to override. Very tough.

  10. sugarrhill says

    It’s not a day on this site without someone blaming the bad prospects of the passage of marriage equality bill on Democrats of African Americans. Seriously, what is it with this site that attracts so many racist Republican closet cases?

  11. Ken says

    Obviously Christie will veto it, but being only three votes away from overriding is encouraging. Defeat Christie next year or elect just a few more pro equality legislators and we are there. We’re very close, I expect we will have marriage equality in New Jersey by 2014.

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