(CNN) - A push to legalize same-sex marriages in New Jersey faces a crucial test Thursday, as the State Senate is scheduled to vote on the issue.
The bill passed through the State Senate's Judiciary Committee last month by just one vote. Same-sex marriage supporters are expected to have an uphill fight to secure the 21 votes needed to advance the bill. If the legislation passes the scheduled 2 p.m. ET vote, the drive would head to the State Assembly, which has yet to vote on the issue.
Throngs of supporters and opponents of the issue are expected to congregate at the statehouse in Trenton.
Supporters of legal same-sex marriages are running against the clock. Republican Gov.-elect Chris Christie, who takes office on January 19, says he would veto the bill.
The man Christie beat in November's election, out-going Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine, says he would sign the bill if it reaches his desk before he leaves office.
New Jersey currently offers civil unions for same sex couples.
Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont and Iowa are currently the only states that legally allow same-sex marriages. Last year, lawmakers in Maine approved legalized gay marriages. But in November voters in Maine passed a referendum to overturn the new law.
Last month the District of Columbia legalized same sex marriages, but the measure is now under a 30 day review period by Congress, which by law has the right to review and overturn laws created by Washington DC's city council.
– CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report
Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn