New Jersey gay marriage proposal will be considered by Senate next week

The New Jersey gay marriage proposal will be considered Monday by a Senate committee and could be posted for a full senate vote later in the week, state Sen. Ray Lesniak said today.

"On Monday in the Judiciary Committee, we're going to vote on marriage equality," Lesniak (D-Union) said, while making the announcement to a crowd of gay marriage supporters on the Statehouse steps today.

"On Thursday the full Senate is going to vote on marriage equality," said Lesniak, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. "And God be willing, we'll have 21 votes."

Democratic officials previously said they would not put the legislation to a vote unless they had the support needed to pass it.

Senate President Richard Codey later confirmed that the full Senate will vote on the measure on Thursday.

“Should the Senate Judiciary Committee approve the bill on Monday, the full Senate will be the first house to consider the bill during a floor vote on Thursday,” Codey said in a statement.

About 650 people came here today in support of the bill's passage. At least a dozen same-sex marriage opponents, mainly a group of Orthodox Jews from Lakewood, held a counter protest at the Statehouse.

Both houses of the Legislature must pass the bill it before it goes to the governor. Outgoing Gov. Jon Corzine has said he would sign it. Incoming Gov. Chris Christie says he would veto it.

Lawmakers in New York on Wednesday rejected a same-sex marriage bill.

New Jersey currently has a civil unions law.

Mary Fuchs, New Jersey

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