A same-sex marriage cleared a New Jersey Assembly committee on Thursday
The Marriage Equality and Religious Exemption Act would eliminate the civil unions that have been in place since 2007.
According to the bill's nine Democratic sponsors, it would create true marriage equality and protect the civil rights of same-sex couples and their families who have suffered under a “separate but equal” system.
The bill includes a religious exemption stating that clergy members and religious groups would not be required to perform any marriage if they feel it violates their First Amendment rights.
The bill has already passed the Senate Judiciary committee.
Even if it passes the full chambers, Governor Chris Christie has vowed to veto it in favor of a voter referendum on the issue.