Senate Panel OKs Gay Marriage Bill; Gov Vows Veto

The governor said, however, the issue should be voted on by residents.

By Angela Delli Santi and Samantha Henry
|  Tuesday, Jan 24, 2012  |  Updated 7:06 PM EDT
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The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 8 to 4 in favor of what supports call marriage equality.  Governor Chris Christie wants a constitutional amendment to let the voters decide. Brian Thompson reports.

NBC New York

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 8 to 4 in favor of what supports call marriage equality. Governor Chris Christie wants a constitutional amendment to let the voters decide. Brian Thompson reports.

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A New Jersey Senate panel has approved a same-sex marriage bill the same day Gov. Chris Christie vowed to veto it.

The Democratic-controlled Senate Judiciary committee forwarded the bill to the full Senate in an 8-4 party-line vote.

Similar legislation failed in the Senate two years ago.

Christie told a town hall audience Tuesday that he would veto the bill if it reaches his desk. He says an issue of such magnitude should be decided by residents.

The Republican urged GOP lawmakers to draft a ballot question — a position he held during the 2009 gubernatorial campaign.

Senate President Stephen Sweeney, a Democrat who is sponsoring the bill, says civil rights issues like the right to marry are guaranteed under the state constitution and do not require a public vote.

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