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New Jersey senate approves gay marriage bill

State's General Assembly set to vote later this week

New Jersey senate approves gay marriage bill

The New Jersey State Senate made history on Monday when it voted 24 to 16 to pass a same-sex marriage bill shortly before a similar bill was signed into law in Washington.

The state's General Assembly is expected to vote on the bill later this week where it is also expected to pass.

But Gov. Chris Christie, who could make New Jersey the eighth state in the U.S. to allow gay marriage by signing the bill into law, has already vowed to veto it.

Christie, a Republican, has said he would rather see the matter be a ballot referendum next fall to let voters decide whether whether same-sex couples should have the right to marry in the state.

The bill was sponsored by Sen. Loretta Weinberg who said during a debate before the vote: 'The word marriage is society's universal civil and legal acknowledgment of a loving relationship. It's time for New Jersey to get on the right side of history and enact true marriage equality for every one of our residents.'

If Christie does follow through with his veto threat, there are reportedly not enough votes in the Senate to override him.

Weinberg is already looking ahead.

'With enough votes, in the future, we can override the governor's veto,' she said.

The Senate vote represented a 70 percent increase in support in the Senate since it defeated a similar bill 14 to 2o in January 2010. 

'When an issue sees a 70 percent increase in support in just two years, that proves the world isn’t changing – it proves the world has changed.   And marriage will be stronger because of it,' said Steve Goldstein, chairman and CEO of Garden State Equality.