New Jersey lawmakers have shut down the prospect of gay marriage in the Garden State for the time being.
State Senate President Richard J. Codey, D-Essex, postponed a highly anticipated vote that had been scheduled for Thursday.
It is a move that could keep gay marriage out of New Jersey for at least the next four years.
Governor-elect Chris Christie takes office next month, and he has vowed to veto any same-sex marriage bill. That promise has gay activists scrambling to pass a measure as soon as possible.
"If I don't stand up for the GLBT community, what's to stop them from tackling myself or people like me 10, 15, 20 years from now?," asked Millard LeCompte, a gay marriage supporter. "Equal rights is equal rights."
Supporters and opponents of gay marriage spent much of the week in the state's capital city of Trenton, lobbying lawmakers before a scheduled vote on gay marriage.
"What these people are seeking here, what the homosexual lobby is seeking is the right to marry somebody of the same sex. That's a special right, not an equal right," said Gregory Quinlan, an opponent of same-sex marriage.
What happens next for gay marriage in New Jersey is unclear. Codey has postponed the vote, leaving the matter to the state assembly. The earliest a bill could be considered in committee is January 4. The lame duck session ends January 11.
"It's kind of like the first skirmish. We're up by one point, but in Trenton, that means nothing," said Len Deo, president of the New Jersey Family Policy Council.
Already this year, lawmakers in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine have voted for same-sex marriage. However, voters in Maine overruled lawmakers in November. And last week, state senators in New York voted against same-sex marriage.