Gay Marriage to Get Vote in NJ

By Brian Thompson
|  Tuesday, Jan 5, 2010  |  Updated 4:37 PM EDT
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Gay Marriage to Get Vote in NJ

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Activists march during a protest October 11, 2009 in Washington, DC.

There will in fact be a vote on gay marriage in the lame duck session of the New Jersey state legislature on Thursday, NBCNewYork.com has learned.

"We're gonna post the bill and see what happens," Senate President Dick Codey told us.

Codey, and even sponsors of same sex marriage legislation are skeptical if there are enough votes to pass in the State Senate.

For days now, Codey has been weighing whether or not to allow a vote in the waning days of this session, which ends next Monday.

"The members for the most part said go ahead and post it," Codey explained in coming to his decision, while acknowledging there was a minority of his fellow democrats who urged him not to bring it to a vote.

Codey said he will post it for debate and a vote Thursday afternoon. 

The leading advocate for same sex marriage, Steve goldstein of Garden State Equality, said he looks forward to the debate.

"Senator Codey is a great supporter of equality and at least he kept his commitment to our community," Goldstein said, referring to the defections of several senators who Goldstein said had promised to support gay marriage, but then changed their minds after the November election.

A lead opponent of the bill, John Tomicki, president of the New Jersey Coalition to Protect and Preserve Marriage, doesn't believe same sex marriage can pass.

"The votes aren't there," said Tomicki, though he quickly added, "what they should be doing is let the people decide the issue," referring to his preference for a public referendum.

In recent years, some three dozen states have asked voters to decide the issue, and gay marriage has lost every time.

If the bill does pass the State Senate, it would go to the Assembly which would also have to debate, and then hold a final vote on Monday, the last day of the session.

Outgoing Governor Jon Corzine has said repeatedly that he would sign it into law if it passes. Incoming Governor Chris Christie, who takes the oath of office January 19th, has said just as many times that he would veto it if it ever gets to his desk.

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