NJ Senate Panel Pass Gay Marriage Bill

In Trenton last night, after several hours of passionate public testimony on a bill to legalize same-sex marriage, the Senate Judiciary panel voted to send the landmark legislation to the full state Senate. WNYC's Bob Hennelly was there.

REPORTER: The marriage equality bill passed by a seven-to-six vote with Republican State Senator Bill Baroni joining six Democrats to vote for passage.

Throughout the day and into the evening dozens of witnesses chronicled instances where the state's existing three-year-old Civil Union law had been ignored by employers, schools and hospitals resulting in discrimination. Opponents of the bill said the legislature owed the state's voters a chance to weigh in by public referendum.

The bill now heads to the full Senate Thursday. Democrats control the upper house by a 23 to 17 margin but already three Democrats have signaled their opposition making the outcome uncertain. For WNYC in Trenton I am Bob Hennlly.