Late this afternoon the New Jersey Senate rejected an amendment to legalize gay marriage in the state. The vote was 20-14.
Outgoing Democratic governor John Corzine had promised to sign the bill if had passed the Senate and Assembly before he left office. Republican Governor-elect Chris Christie has vowed to veto any gay marriage legislation.
The defeat was the third for gay marriage in recent month on Northeastern states. Maine voters overturned a state law legalizing gay marriage at the polls. Last month New York’s Senate rejected a similar bill to the one defeated today in New Jersey. Conversely, the D.C. Council overwhelmingly voted in favor of gay marriage in nation’s capital last month and it is expected to become law later this year pending Congressional review.
Opponents of gay marriage hailed the defeat. The National Organization for Marriage spend $1.2 million in advertising in New Jersey in recent months. NOM president Brian Brown credit ground work done by traditional marriage groups such as the New Jersey Family Policy Council for its work.
“Once again gay marriage advocates forced a vote, and once again they learned the truth: the American people do not want their politicians spending time passing gay marriage,” Brown said in a press release. “The Catholic Conference and the New Jersey Family Policy Council deserve thanks, but the main force for this victory is the tens of thousands of ordinary New Jerseyans who picked up the phone and sent letters and emails to their elected representatives. This vote is your victory. Your voice came through loud and clear.”
Gay marriage supporters interviewed at the Statehouse said they would not wait out Christie’s term to try again and vowed taking the fight to the courts.
The five states which have legalized gay marriage are Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut and Massachusetts.