Monday, December 07, 2009

New Jersey's gay marriage bill passes key hurdle

A proposal to legalize gay marriage in New Jersey narrowly passed a key state Senate committee on Monday, paving the way for a legislative showdown this week and boosting the possibility New Jersey will join the handful of U.S. states allowing gay couples to wed.

Reuters reports:
(Trenton, New Jersey) After seven hours of public testimony, the state Senate Judiciary Committee voted seven to six to send the bill that would legalize same-sex marriage to a vote before the full state Senate. That vote is set for Thursday. "At best, civil unions are separate but equal, and we all know separate is never equal," veteran civil rights activist Julian Bond said at the New Jersey hearing, referring to the racial segregation that once existed in the United States.

Advocates of gay marriage are racing to get the measure approved in the legislature and signed into law before mid-January, when Governor Jon Corzine, who said he would sign it, leaves office.

Corzine, a liberal Democrat, was defeated in his re-election attempt last month by Republican Chris Christie, who has vowed to veto the bill.