TRENTON - New Jersey Democrats pushing gay marriage legislation say they won't be swayed by Gov. Chris Christie's insistence the issue be put to voters instead.

Senate President Stephen Sweeney says he sees same-sex marriage as a civil right guaranteed by the state constitution. He says there's no reason to put the question on the ballot. Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver agrees. She says the Legislature won't shy away from the issue because it's difficult.

A Senate panel advanced a gay marriage bill yesterday.

Just hours earlier the governor vowed to veto the bill if it reaches his desk. Christie encouraged Republicans to draft a ballot question.

Polls show a majority of New Jerseyans favor allowing same-sex unions.

Gov. Christie wants gay marriage on the ballot