N.J. lawmakers approve gay marriage, but veto looms

TRENTON, N.J. -- Even as Gov. Chris Christie's threat of a "swift" veto looms, gay rights activists are celebrating after the state Assembly voted Thursday on a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in New Jersey.

With supporters imploring lawmakers to make history, the lower house passed the bill after hours of debate on a day that began with protests and prayer vigils under gloomy skies outside the Statehouse.

"Without question, this is a historic day in the state of New Jersey," said Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, who, along with Senate President Stephen Sweeney, a fellow Democrat, made the measure a top priority.

The Senate, which failed to pass a gay marriage bill two years ago, easily approved it Monday. The governor's office would not say when Christie would respond.

Thursday's 42-33 tally did not include a single Republican vote, and two Democrats voted no.

Gay rights activists were joyous after the vote, vowing they'd fight to overturn Christie's expected veto -- and saying it bolsters a gay marriage court challenge in its early stages.