TRENTON - The state Senate has passed a measure recognizing gay marriage.

Today's 24-16 vote was the first time either chamber of the state Legislature has passed such a bill. A previous Senate measure failed back in January of 2010, the only other time gay marriage has come up for a vote in New Jersey.

The bill will now go before the Assembly for a vote on Thursday.

Gov. Chris Christie says he'll veto the bill if it comes to his desk, giving proponents nearly two years to try to muster enough votes to override it.

Christie's pushing for a public vote on whether to allow gay marriage. But supporters say it's not right to put a civil rights issue on the ballot.

The vote comes on the heels of another significant win for gay marriage advocates: Washington state just became the seventh state in the country to approve same-sex marriage.