Lawmakers Delay Gay Marriage Vote in NJ

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A vote in New Jersey's state Senate on gay marriage apparently won't come today as planned.
      
    Sponsors Ray Lesniak(D-Union) and Loretta Weinberg(D-Bergen) said Wednesday that they had asked that the Senate vote be postponed so the bill can receive parallel consideration in the Assembly.

    Apparently believing the votes for Senate passage don't exist right now, pro-gay marriage forces want the Assembly to vote first.

    Same-Sex Marriage Fight Put on Hold

    [NY] Same-Sex Marriage Fight Put on Hold
    Tomorrow was supposed to be decision day for the bill to legalize same-sex marriage in the New Jersey senate. But, plans changed dramatically today.The bill's sponsors and gay rights activists say the bill isn't dead yet. But there is apparent fear that there aren't enough votes to pass the bill in the senate right now. And so the bill will go to the assembly first for more debate and give lobbyists more time to get support.

    Senate President Richard Codey (D-Essex), who had posted the bill to Thursday's agenda, has agreed to the delay. "I'm disappointed but I'm not sure I will have a chance to vote on this," he said.
      
    There was optimism from other corners: "I do believe if it passes one house it will pass both houses," Senator Lesniak told News4 New York. 

    “While I’m disappointed that the sponsors have decided to delay the Senate vote, I certainly understand the view that the public should have an opportunity to be heard in the Assembly, Speaker Joseph Roberts Jr. said.

    “At this point, this much is clear - our civil union law has failed to live up to even the most modest of hopes and encourages unequal treatment of same-sex couples and their children," he said.
      
    Pundits have long believed chances for passage in the Assembly are better than in the Senate.
      
    However, this will mean the Assembly Judiciary Committee will have to hold a hearing and then send it on to the full Assembly for a vote.  That would likely be in early January, and assuming passage, then the full Senate could take it up again after that.
      
    It does, however, press against the deadline of Governor Jon Corzine's term ending.  Corzine has said he would sign a gay marriage law but incoming governor Chris Christie said he would veto it.  Christie takes office January 19th.

    Last week, New York's state Senate issued a resounding defeat of a gay marriage bill in a 38 to 24 vote.

    Five states have legalized gay marriage --Iowa, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont.

    Meantime,  a new poll finds that despite opposition from the Catholic Church, New Jersey Catholics generally support legalizing gay marriage.

    The Rutgers-Eagleton Poll released Wednesday finds that 48 percent of Catholic residents polled support gay marriage.  Among Protestants, 34 percent support the measure while 56 percent of Jewish residents surveyed are in favor.  A vast majority of those with no religious preference, 85 percent, support same sex marriage.