Late Friday night, the New York legislature approved a bill allowing for same-sex marriage in the state and still gave religious institutions protection if they chose to not perform the ceremony. The bill received bipartisan support from the Democratic-led Assembly 82-47 and then in the Republican-led Senate 33-29.
The bill allows for gender-neutral marriage licenses for both same- and opposite-sex couples. It also prohibits state and local courts or governments from penalizing any religious group or its employees who refuse to recognize a marriage that contradicts their doctrine or refusing to provide services and accommodations for such weddings.
Following the approval in New York, NJ Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer) stated that he believes it is time for New Jersey to follow suit. Gusciora introduced a bill earlier this month to legalize same-sex marriage in the state.
But on Sunday morning, while appearing on NBC's "Meet the Press" Gov. Chris Christie said he would not approve any bill that comes to his desk allowing for same-sex marriage and instead that New Jersey will "continue to pursue civil unions."
New York is the sixth state to allow same-sex marriage and will take effect on July 24. Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington, D.C. also issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, while Maryland and Rhode Island will recognize a marriage license from any of the above states.
In the past year, a number of national polls (Washington Post/ABC News, Gallup, and CNN) have shown, for the first time that a majority of the country supports marriage equality. Support for same-sex marriage has increased by 19 percentage points since 1996, according to the Pew Research Center.
Do you think it is time that New Jersey allowed same-sex marriages?