By David Madden

TRENTON (CBS) – Action is expected today in a New Jersey Senate committee on a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage.

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Leaders in both the Senate and Assembly made the issue the first order of business on the new legislative calendar and have vowed to move quickly on it. The Senate measure, sponsored by President Steve Sweeney, was introduced just two weeks ago and referred to the Judiciary Committee.

“We fully anticipate the bill being heard and being voted out today and what we’re looking for is on February 13th to vote it out on the floor,” Sweeney said.

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He considers gay marriage a civil rights issue and stresses no religious institution is bound by the proposal.

“We’re capable of doing a lot of things at one time. But honestly, civil rights should be number one. That’s why we’re moving quickly with it,” he said.

However, Governor Chris Christie has objected to gay marriage in the past and he backs the current civil union option. He has not, as yet, indicated whether he would veto this bill and Sweeney’s not sure he has enough votes to override such a move.

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