The state Senate passed a bill legalizing gay marriage this afternoon by a vote of 24-16.
Two republicans, Sen. Jennifer Beck (R-Monmouth) and Sen. Diane Allen (R-Burlington) voted yes on the bill.
... Two Democrats, Sen. Ronald Rice (D-Essex) and Sen. Jeff Van Drew (D-Cape May), voted no.
The 24 votes in favor of the bill leaves supporters three votes short of the 27 votes they would need to override Christie’s veto.
The debate lasted less than an hour, with only Sen. Gerry Cardinale (R-Bergen) speaking against the bill.
"The essential characteristic of a marriage, the very definition of the term, is it involves at least one male and one female,” Cardinale said. “Do not break with thousands of years of civilized tradition. This bill opens Pandora’s box.”
The Assembly will take up the bill on Thursday.
Christie, who opposes gay marriage, wants to put the issue on the ballot in November, but Democrats have rejected that option, saying civil rights should not be subject to popular vote.