A bill to legalize gay marriage has clearedthe New Jersey state Senate Judiciary Committee, paving the way fora full Senate vote Thursday.
Monday night's committee vote was 7-6.
New Jersey is the best chance for proponents to add a sixth state allowing same-sex unions.
A similar measure was voted down last week in the New York stateSenate. Last month, voters in Maine overturned a law that wasenacted this year to allow same-sex weddings but never took effect.
Gay marriage is recognized in Massachusetts, Vermont,
Connecticut and Iowa. It becomes legal in New Hampshire in January.
Proponents want the New Jersey bill passed quickly becauseDemocratic Gov. Jon Corzine (KOHR'-zyn) has said he'd sign itbefore leaving office.
How the Senate Judiciary Committee members voted:
Sen. Bill Baroni (R-Mercer) Sen. Nia H. Gill (D-Essex) Sen. Raymond J. Lesniak (D-Union) Sen. Nicholas P. Scutari (D-Union) Sen. Bob Smith (D-Middlesex) Sen. Brian P. Stack (D-Hudson) Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen)
Sen. Paul Sarlo (D-Bergen), chairmanSen. John A. Girgenti (D-Passaic) vice chair Sen. Christopher Bateman (R-Somerset) Sen. Jennifer Beck (R-Monmouth) Sen. Gerald Cardinale (R-Bergen) Sen. Joseph Kyrillos (R-Monmouth)Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun