New Jersey state senators voted Monday to approve a bill that would extend the right to marry to same sex couples, sending the bill to the Assembly at-large for final approval.

The vote was 24-16 in favor of legalizing same sex marriage, although Governor Chris Christie (R) has promised a veto, according to The Associated Press.

Lawmakers in the state Assembly are expected to approve the bill later this week by a narrow margin.

Gov. Christie has said he would rather the definition of the word "marriage" go before the public in a referendum vote. Christie's veto can only be overcome with a two-thirds majority in both chambers of the New Jersey Assembly.

A previous vote on same sex marriage in January 2010 was voted down by the Senate 20-14.