(CNN) –A New Jersey Senate vote on a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in the state has been delayed, one of the bill's sponsors said
The Marriage Equality Act's sponsors, Democratic Sens. Loretta Weinberg
and Raymond Lesniak, asked for the delay on Wednesday in hopes that the Assembly would begin considering it, Weinberg said.
She also said the delay would allow the public and lawmakers to study amendments to the bill that she said protect religious institutions.
Senate President Richard Codey agreed to delay to the vote, which was originally scheduled for Thursday.
"I understand their desire to make sure this bill receives the thorough attention it deserves and therefore I have agreed to postpone tomorrow's vote until further notice," Codey said.
The bill narrowly cleared the Senate's Judiciary Committee on Monday by a vote of 7-6.
Weinberg and Lesniak said that they had requested that Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts schedule a meeting for the body's Judiciary Committee to discuss the bill, but Roberts noted that no such hearing was scheduled. He did not indicate whether he would post one.
"While I'm disappointed that the sponsors have decided to delay the Senate vote, I certainly understand the view that the public should have an opportunity to be heard in the Assembly," Roberts said.
"But I must emphasize that no hearing has been scheduled and that I am continuing to discuss this issue with our caucus to gauge whether there is enough support for it."
However, Roberts said that starting the process of considering the bill in the Assembly would give additional people time to testify.
Ahead of the Monday's vote, the Senate Judiciary Committee heard seven hours of testimony from people for and against the bill, Weinberg and Lesniak said.
Hundreds of people had lined up outside the chambers, and 150 people were turned away because the committee ran out of time, they said.
The bill would likely need to move through the legislature over the next few weeks to stand a chance of being signed into law.
Republican Gov.-elect Chris Christie, who takes office January 19, has said he would veto it. Outgoing Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine has vowed to sign it.
Same-sex marriage is legal in Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont and Massachusetts, and will become legal next month in New Hampshire.