TRENTON – The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on the Marriage Equality Bill today. The controversial measure would permit gay couples to marry in New Jersey.
State Sen. Paul A. Sarlo, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, posted the bill on the committee’s agenda, but does not plan to vote for it.
“I don’t support this legislation,” said Sarlo (D-Wood-Ridge.) “However, in a democracy, I do not believe that one person should prevent any piece of legislation from having a fair hearing and an open vote in public.”
The committee is expected to pass the bill, which could go to the full Senate for a vote as early as Thursday. It is less clear what will happen to the bill there.
Lobbyists have been busy trying to sway support to both sides. “Both sides are working furiously. Legislative offices are extremely busy with phone calls,” Senate President Richard Codey (D-Essex) said. “Lobbying and lobbying and lobbying.”
Gay marriage advocates realize that this may be the final opportunity to pass this bill. Gov. Jon Corzine said that he is prepared to sign the measure if the legislature passes it, but Gov.-elect Chris Christie opposes the idea and would likely veto any gay marriage legislation that crosses his desk.
While five states allow gay couples to marry, 31 have rejected similar measures through a popular vote.
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