January 7th, 2010
05:05 PM ET
10 years ago

Same-sex marriage bill defeated in New Jersey

Washington (CNN) - A push to legalize same-sex marriages in New Jersey was defeated Thursday, as the state Senate voted 20 to 14 to reject the measure.

The bill passed through the State Senate's Judiciary Committee early last month by just one vote, but a vote by the chamber was delayed until this month as supporters of the legislation sought additional support.

Thursday's vote in the Garden State follows the same outcome last month in neighboring New York, where the state Senate voted down similar legislation to legalize same-sex marriage.

New Jersey currently offers civil unions for same sex couples.

"Today's vote by the New Jersey Senate perpetuates a system of inequality in the Garden State," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "Failing to provide loving, committed couples access to marriage leaves them separate and unequal – civil unions are not the same as marriage."

The Human Rights Campaign describes itself as the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization.

There was a very different message from the state's Republican Party.

"From the beginning, Republicans have opposed legislative and judicial efforts to redefine marriage in New Jersey and called for any changes to be put on the ballot for voters to decide," New Jersey Republican State Committee Chairman Jay Webber said in a statement. "We believe that the majority of New Jerseyans agree with that position, and following the failure of this bill in today's Senate vote, I am heartened to see that the Senate has respected the will of the people."

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.

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn

Filed under: New Jersey • Same-sex marriage
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. YBM

    New Jerseyians are not as dumb as I thought they were. Good going.

    Nothing against corksuckers and carpetmunchers, but I don't think they should be allowed to have anything to do with children in any shape or form. Children should not be taught that such a lifestyle choice is ok.

    January 7, 2010 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
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