As the New Jersey legislature prepares to begin its lame-duck session on Monday, senate Democratic leaders sound divided on how much weight to assign the marriage equality bill.
Sen. Steven Sweeney (pictured), the majority leader, told reporters that marriage equality is an important issue, but not one that legislators need to prioritize at this time, particularly with the pressing needs of the economy, according to the Star-Ledger.
Sen. Loretta Weinberg, the prime sponsor of the marriage equality bill and the recent Democratic lieutenant governor candidate, shot back, urging Sweeney to honor a commitment he made, the Star-Ledger reported.
"We have the ability in the legislature to talk about this bill and address the economic crisis at the same time," said Weinberg in a statement. "It will be a disappointment to so many in the grassroots of our party as well as to me personally if this commitment is not honored."
The senate judiciary committee must vote on the bill before it can reach the full senate. The assembly judiciary committee also must vote on a similar version.
Marriage equality advocates want to pass the bill in the lame-duck session before governor-elect Chris Christie, who has vowed to veto the bill, takes office in January. Gov. Jon Corzine has pledged to sign the bill.