Jersey democrats in the state Senate and Assembly have vowed to pass a gay marriage bill by the end of the year – saying it’s one of their top priorities. A new poll finds a majority of Garden state residents support that decision.

Mickey Carroll, the Director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute says gay marriage wins heavy support in the latest Quinnipiac University survey. “52 to 42- the first time it’s ever gone over the halfway mark, and up from a negative – last time Quinnipiac did it- 46 to- 49 – in November…however the demographic divisions on the question are quite substantial.”

He says the poll shows “republicans – they’re opposed – 59 to 35 – democrats are for it – 62 to 33…also, men- yeah, 49 to 44, they’re for gay marriage – women – heavily – 55 to 40 …and when it comes to the question of supporting gay marriage, whites and blacks – white voters for it – 55 to 39 – black voters against it – 51 to 45.”

He points out “what a lot of supporters say is this a civil rights issue – but black voters apparently think that it’s a moral issue.”

Carroll adds “when we ask people who go regularly – weekly – to some sort of religious service – 58 to 36 – they oppose gay marriage…people who don’t go regularly- 61 to 33- they’re in favor.”

He says “being against it is like being against the sun coming up in the east – the numbers are for it – and if you’re against it – perfectly fine moral decision if you feel like it – the Quinnipiac numbers say that you’re on the losing side…it’s a big issue in New Jersey – the democrats are going to make it a big issue- Governor Christie is being a little bit more ambiguous than the past -we’ll see what happens.”

On related issues, New Jersey voter opinions are 65 – 32 percent that same-sex marriage is not a threat to traditional marriage; 53 – 45 percent that denying same-sex marriage is discrimination; 69 – 26 percent support for New Jersey’s same-sex civil union law; 66 – 29 percent support allowing same-sex couples to adopt children.