TRENTON, NJ (AP)– Gay marriage proponents expect same-sex couples will be allowed to wed in New Jersey, eventually.

But not even the most ardent activists believe gay marriage will happen soon, despite a marriage equality measure being up for votes in both houses of the Legislature this week.

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Gov. Chris Christie has promised to veto the bill if it passes.

Activists say this step is necessary to win gay marriage in the future.

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Steven Goldstein, who heads Garden State Equality, the state’s largest gay rights organization, takes the long view, saying that civil rights are won incrementally.

In the meantime, Democrats believe they can gain political leverage.

Political scientist Peter Woolley of Fairleigh Dickinson University says proponents can use gay marriage to force Christie into uncomfortable territory for a fiscal conservative.

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