(CNN) - The New Jersey state Senate will vote Thursday on a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in the state, the senate president said.
Senate President Richard J. Codey, a Democrat, has scheduled the vote for 2 p.m. Thursday, according to a Tuesday statement from his office.
"Given the intensely personal nature of this issue, I think the people of this state deserve the right to a formal debate on the Senate floor," he said.
The bill would likely need to pass both of New Jersey's legislative bodies - the Senate and the Assembly - soon to become law, as 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.
Last month, the Marriage Equality Act's sponsors, Democratic Sens. Loretta Weinberg and Raymond Lesniak, asked that the Senate vote on the bill be delayed, in hopes that the Assembly would begin considering it, Weinberg said.
However, the Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts said last week that he would only call a vote if the Senate voted first, according to The New Jersey Star-Ledger.
Afterward, Lesniak and Weinberg asked Codey to schedule a vote, the newspaper said.
Same-sex marriage is legal in Connecticut, Vermont, Iowa, Massachusetts, and, as of last week, New Hampshire.
Also, District of Columbia Mayor Adrian Fenty signed a measure last month recognizing such marriages as legal.
The measure is now under congressional review, but it's considered unlikely that the Democratic majority on Capitol Hill would block the bill. By law, Congress has the right to review and overturn laws created by the District of Columbia's city council.
Also last year, Maine voters overturned in November a law legalizing same-sex marriage, and New York's state Senate voted down in December a similar bill.