NJ Assembly Passes Gay Marriage Bill

The New Jersey Assembly has passed a bill legalizing same-sex marriages, setting the stage for an expected veto by Governor Chris Christie.

The 41-33 vote Thursday sends the bill to Christie. But the chamber isn't required to send the bill to Christie's desk until the close of business Friday.

The Republican governor who opposes gay marriage had promised "very swift action" once the bill reached his desk. Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak said no action on the bill would be taken before Friday.

Christie and most Republican lawmakers want gay marriage put to a popular vote. Democrats say gay marriage is a civil right protected by the Constitution and should not be subject to referendum.

Six states and Washington, D.C. recognize gay marriages. Washington State's new gay marriage law takes effect in June.

The affirmative vote in the Democrat-controlled Assembly ended speculation over whether the measure had the votes to pass.

The Senate passed the bill 24-16 vote Monday.