New Jersey Democrats have rejected Gov. Chris Christie's nomination of a gay black Republican mayor to the state Supreme Court.

Morris County Mayor Bruce Harris was turned down by a vote of 7 to 6 after a four-hour hearing.

It's the same margin by which another Christie nominee, First Assistant Attorney General Phillip Kwon, was voted down two months ago.

Democrats who control the Senate Judiciary Committee questioned Harris's lack of courtroom experience and vow to recuse himself from deciding gay marriage cases.

Harris said his prior support of gay marriage creates a perception he would be biased on the issue. The 61-year-old would have been the state's third black justice and the court's first openly gay jurist.

The seven-member Supreme Court is currently all-white with two vacancies.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)