The New Jersey Assembly just passed the state marriage equality bill with a vote of 42 to 33. This comes after the state Senate passed the bill on Monday by a vote of 24 to 16.
Though Republican Governor Chris Christie has promised to veto the bill, pro-marriage advocates have until the end of this legislative session, January 2014, to wrangle the 12 additional Assembly votes and 3 additional Senate votes needed to override his veto.
Responding to the Assembly vote, Garden State Equality Chair and CEO Steven Goldstein said:
Today's milestone came in the face of some of the toughest obstacles in the history of the marriage equality movement. Instead of a Governor twisting arms on our behalf, we have a Governor who twisted arms against us right up until the final votes in each chamber... And Garden State Equality's budget was one-tenth of what it was two years ago.
To win an override, we will take the time we need, assisted by a changing world. Look how the world changed since the last vote two years ago.
Evan Wolfson founder and President of Freedom to Marry mentioned that his organization contributed more than $200,000 to help elevate the voices of New Jersey families, purchase radio and online advertisements, lobby and support their partners at Garden State Equality.
In 2006, the New Jersey Supreme Court unanimously held that the constitution's command of equality meant that the protections and responsibilities of marriage could no longer be denied to gay couples. After experimenting with a separate civil union mechanism, today the Legislature took note that marriage matters, and equal means equal, and voted in favor of the freedom to marry.