TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A measure to allow gay couples to marry in New Jersey will be considered today by the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

The bill would eliminate civil unions, which critics say do not provide equal treatment to same-sex couples. Assemblyman Peter Barnes, who chairs the Judiciary Committee, says witnesses will be limited to three minutes, but no one will be turned away.

A Senate panel approved the measure last month after Democrats, who control both houses of the Legislature, made gay marriage legislation a priority for the new session.

Speaking before a friendly crowd in his home county of Morris Thursday, Gov. Chris Christie was asked whether he would stick to his promise to veto a gay marriage bill if it comes to his desk. He said he would.

In a mocking tone, Christie asked how much more “magnanimous” could he be than offering the referendum. The governor says recent polls show a majority of New Jerseyans support gay marriage and voter turnout in November should be large because of the presidential election.

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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