Hearing today on NJ marriage bill

WiG

The New Jersey Assembly Judiciary Committee was set to hold a hearing early on Feb. 2 on the marriage equality bill.

A committee vote was expected after testimony on the legislation.

A Senate committee already has held a hearing and voted 8-4 to send the bill to a floor vote.

Gov. Chris Christie, R., has said he will veto the bill if it reaches his desk.

Christie has said that extending marriage rights to same-sex couples should be put to a ballot vote instead of decided by the legislature or the courts.

Christie triggered controversy when he suggested that civil rights advocates might have appreciated a ballot referendum option in the 1950s and 1960s and then referred to a critic of that statement as a “numbnuts.” The critic was Democrat Reed Gusciora, one of two openly gay state lawmakers in New Jersey.

Gusciora had compared Christie to George Wallace and Lester Maddox.

Today’s hearing follows a major advance in marriage equality in Washington State.

Late Feb. 1, the state senate passed a marriage equality bill that seems certain to also pass in the house and gain the governor’s signature.

If a threatened campaign to take the issue to voters in November fails, same-sex couples will marry in Washington in June.