By Chief Political Correspondent Michael Aron
The Senate gallery was packed, mainly with supporters of same-sex marriage. Seven senators stood to speak, six who supported the bill and one in opposition. Senate President Steve Sweeney, who voted against same-sex marriage two years ago, but now is spearheading the effort for it, urged his Republican colleagues to do what he called “absolutely the right thing.”
Republican Gerald Cardinale urged the Senate to have the courage to stand up to today’s political correctness and to respect what marriage has meant for thousands of years.
Gov. Chris Christie has repeatedly said he’ll veto the bill if it gets to his desk. Today’s 24-16 vote is three shy of the 27 needed for an override in the house, though after the vote Democrats said they think they can get there eventually. Two Republicans Senators Jennifer Beck and Diane Allen voted for same-sex marriage. Two Democrats — Senators Ron Rice and Jeff Van Drew — voted against it. Gay rights leader Steven Goldstein was emotional immediately after the vote.
Gov. Christie has proposed putting the issue on the ballot for voters to decide, an idea democrats roundly reject.
Some see today’s vote for same-sex marriage as a milestone on the road to eventual legalization. Others see it as a political posturing by a Democratic leadership that knows it’s not going to really happen any time soon. The Assembly holds its floor vote this Thursday.