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New Jersey Senate defeats same-sex marriage bill

[JURIST] The New Jersey Senate voted 20-14 [video] Thursday to defeat a bill [text, PDF] that would have legalized same-sex marriage [JURIST news archive] in the state. The Senate Judiciary Committee had voted 7-6 in favor of the bill [JURIST report] last month, marking the first time that any body in the state legislature [official website] had approved same-sex marriage legislation. The bill's sponsors, Democratic senators Raymond Lesniak and Loretta Weinberg, postponed the vote [JURIST report], saying they wanted to allow a hearing in the general assembly before the vote took place. Supporters had hoped to pass the legislation before outgoing Governor Jon Corzine (D) leaves office on January 19. He had promised to sign the bill, but Governor-elect Chris Christie (R) opposes it, making same-sex marriage unlikely in New Jersey for at least the next four years.

Last month, the New York Senate also defeated legislation [JURIST report] to allow same-sex marriage. In November, Maine voters vetoed [JURIST report] a same-sex marriage bill passed by that state's legislature. The Maine vote came a year after California voters approved Proposition 8, an amendment to the state constitution overturning the state's high court ruling [JURIST reports] in favor of same-sex marriage. Same-sex marriage is currently legal in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, and New Hampshire, and is set to become legal in Washington DC [JURIST reports], pending Congressional inaction. New Jersey has recognized same-sex civil unions [JURIST report] since 2006.

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