TRENTON, New Jersey (Reuters) - New Jersey's state Senate defeated a bill on Thursday that would have legalized same-sex marriage, a move that likely stalls the measure for several years.
The Senate, after an afternoon of debate, voted 20 to 14 against the bill. Backers had hoped to get it approved and signed into law before Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine, a supporter, leaves office on January 19.
Incoming Republican Governor Chris Christie, who defeated Corzine in November, had said he would veto the measure.
With failure of the bill in the Senate, the proposal now could lie dormant for years while Christie is in office.
Political observers have said Christie's victory made some lawmakers wary of supporting the controversial measure.
New Jersey has a same-sex civil union law, designed to give gay couples the same legal rights as heterosexual couples. But advocates of gay marriage say civil unions are inadequate.
Iowa, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont have legalized same sex marriage. Another 40 states have specific laws banning it.