Advocates of same-sex marriage may have bought themselves a little bit more time by delaying a key Senate vote scheduled for today, but the clock is ticking, and fast.

Senate President Richard J. Codey (D., Essex), said it "seems obvious" that same-sex marriage supporters who called off the expected debate did not have the 21 votes needed to move the measure through the Senate, and he was unsure if it would be possible to clear that hurdle before the legislative session expires.

Meanwhile, supporters are hoping to build momentum in the Assembly, but there was no indication yesterday that the lower house would take up the emotional issue. The uncertain prospects in the Senate, and public signal of weakness sent by the stalled vote has only created more doubt.

"I can't guarantee that if (the Assembly passes) it that it will pass in my house at this point in time, so it's a whole new ballgame in the calculus," Codey said.

Assembly Speaker Joseph J. Roberts Jr. (D., Camden), has the authority to post the measure for an Assembly vote, but he has not comitted to doing so and did not respond to requests for comment today.

"The reason they're moving the bill in a different direction is they didn't have the votes," said Len Deo, president of the socially-conservative New Jersey Family Policy Council.