TRENTON – The Democrat-controlled Assembly is expected to pass the Marriage Equality and Religious Exemption Act on Thursday, which would allow same-sex couples to marry. The state Senate approved the bill by a 24-16 vote Monday, but Gov. Chris Christie has said he will veto the legislation.
The bill (A-1/S-1) would eliminate the civil unions that have been in place in New Jersey since 2007, that the proposal’s advocates say have failed to provide equal treatment to New Jersey’s same-sex couples. The marriage equality bill would instead define marriage as the legally recognized union of two consenting people in a committed relationship.
The Assembly bill is sponsored by Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer/Hunterdon), Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-Essex/Passaic), Connie Wagner (D-Bergen), Mila Jasey (D-Essex/Morris), John McKeon (D-Essex/Morris), Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen), Jason O’Donnell (D-Hudson), Deputy Speaker John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex) and Timothy Eustace (D-Bergen).
Christie wants to put the issue of gay marriage before New Jersey voters as a November ballot question, but supporters of the marriage equality bill do not believe that civil rights should be subject to a popular vote.
Other legislation on Thursday’s Assembly agenda:
- A bill to extend for 18 months the public-private partnerships that have helped spark college campus construction (A-2271).
- A bill to protect personal information by requiring the destruction of records stored on digital copy machines (A-1238).
- A bill to require retailers to charge consumers an advertised after-rebate price – rather than making buyers send in coupons or log on to manufacturer’s web sites to claim their savings. (A-1511)
- A bill to require mail-in manufactured rebates to be clearly marked (A-1516).
- A resolution urging Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act to ensure gender wage equity. (AR-50)
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