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NJ Marriage Waits on Assembly Hearing

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New Jersey state senate leaders postponed a highly anticipated vote on the marriage equality bill this week in order for the assembly judiciary committee to hear the bill first, but as of Friday morning, no hearing date had been set.

On Wednesday, senate Democrats announced that the bill, which passed the senate judiciary committee on Monday by a narrow 7-6 vote, would not see a vote in the full senate on Thursday as expected. Instead, the bill, which has struggled to attract the 21 votes needed to pass the senate, would be heard in the assembly judiciary committee and potentially the full assembly first, in order to gain support.

However, by late Thursday, according to Newark's Star-Ledger,assembly speaker Joseph Roberts had not set a hearing date for the bill in his chamber's judiciary committee. An earlier statement from the speaker suggested that he was being cautious.

"'But I must emphasize that no hearing has been scheduled and that I am continuing to discuss this issue with our caucus to gauge whether there is enough support for it,'" said Roberts, according to the Star-Ledger.

A hearing could be scheduled as early as Monday, under the rules of the assembly.

Earlier this week, before the vote in the full senate was postponed, the Star-Ledger surveyed all 40 senators about their position on the marriage equality bill. The results showed that 13 lawmakers publicly supported the legislation, while 18 opposed it and nine remained undecided or unwilling to express their position.

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