TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork)New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a marriage equality bill last year, but Troy Stevenson – the new chairman of Garden State Equality – emphasized that a lot has happened since then.

“His response to Hurricane Sandy was amazing, and he came out strongly advocating for the rights of the citizens of New Jersey – all citizens of New Jersey,” Stevenson told WCBS 880’s Monica Miller.

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Bills to recognize gay marriage passed the state Assembly and Senate in New Jersey last February. A Quinnipiac University poll showed more than half of New Jerseyans support same-sex marriage rights.

“We’re going to be targeting specific legislators and getting them to see what their constituents believe,” Stevenson said.

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Stevenson said his organization is working with key lawmakers on the issue, and gay marriage could be legal in the Garden State by the end of 2013.

Gay marriage is legal, or soon will be, in nine states – Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, Maryland, Washington New York and Vermont – as well as the District of Columbia.

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