New York, NY —
Today was supposed to be the day that New Jersey's state Senate took up the same-sex marriage bill. The measure won a key committee vote on Monday, and attracted at least one Republican in the process.
Senate President Dick Codey says sponsors of the gay marriage bill asked for more time so the Assembly's Judiciary panel could weigh in. Democratic Assemblyman John McKeon is one of the bills prime sponsors in the Assembly. He remains optimistic that the measure can poll enough votes to win in his chamber. McKeon says he thinks a majority of his chamber sees it as a basic civil rights issue.
"I think this is a constitutionally protected right that we're just now through our statutory ability putting our imprimatur on what already is I think a natural right," he says.
The delay buys time for marriage equality boosters. It's now up to Speaker Joe Roberts to schedule the Assembly hearing. In a statement he says he has yet to schedule a date. In the past he's said he would not let the bill move forward unless it had the votes to win final passage.
Democrats hold 48 of the Assembly's 80 seats.