"I'm healed with this vote," he said, adding that the legislation moved thousands of other youths in the Garden State a step closer to healing.
Kim Otto, whose son John became suicidal after classmates at Haddonfield Memorial High School bullied him for being gay, said Monday that his situation might not have been as bad with the law in place.
Gov. Christie said Monday night that he had not read the measure but that the state's lawyers had raised concerns over whether its provisions infringed on constitutional rights. He did not say if he would sign it.
The anti-bullying bill was among dozens considered by the Legislature on Monday.
Also headed to the governor after Senate approval were bills that would allow school districts to sell advertising space on their buses and that would ease procedures for local governments to file complaints against unfunded state mandates.
Additionally, the Senate approved a bill that would expand a program offering tax incentives for businesses that stay or relocate in the state. The measure awaits action in the Assembly.
The Assembly continued to push against Christie's elimination of $7.5 million for family planning in the current budget by approving legislation that would provide $5 million for the programs. The money would come from an account set aside to compensate counties for housing certain prisoners.
Another measure approved by the Assembly would require the state to expand its family-planning program for Medicaid recipients by applying for matching federal dollars. The Senate has not yet voted on the measures.
Approved in the Assembly and awaiting a vote in the Senate were measures that would standardize contracts for the state's school superintendents and retool rules pertaining to the state's newly created medical-marijuana program to make the drug more accessible to those in chronic pain.
The Senate was scheduled to consider the medical-marijuana resolution, but put it off until Dec. 9 because proponents were short on votes, said sponsor Sen. Nick Scutari (D., Union). Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D., Bergen), who supports it, was absent.
The Legislature in January approved medical-marijuana distribution, in a bill Christie has said he would have vetoed had he been in office.
State health officials have said they want to prevent access to the drug by people who do not need it for legitimate medical reasons. Their implementation guidelines cut the number of intended distribution centers from six to four and limited the types and strength of marijuana, sponsors of the resolution say.
Lawmakers should leave those decisions to "medical providers and scientists who know and study this drug," Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D., Mercer) said on the Assembly floor Monday.
The House resolution to revise the regulations passed 48-22. If approved by the Senate, the Department of Health and Senior Services would have 30 days to rework the rules.
The anti-bullying bill got some of the most attention, with applause breaking out in Senate chambers when it passed unanimously with 30 votes. The bill had won 72-1 in the Assembly earlier in the afternoon.
The measure, which also would require anti-bullying language in college codes of conduct, follows the September suicide of Tyler Clementi, an 18-year-old Rutgers University who jumped from the George Washington Bridge after classmates allegedly spied on him via webcam while he had a sexual encounter with a male partner.
The legislation had been in the works for 10 months at the time of Clementi's death.
The bill addresses "the need for a renewal of values of respect for human dignity and personal privacy, particularly for young people in this time of rapidly evolving technology," a lawyer for the Clementi family said in a statement on Monday.
Bullying "is an epidemic," said Sherry Zimmer, whose son Matthew was a friend of Clementi's at Ridgewood High School and shared tales of being harassed.
The bill - which includes harassment off school grounds - designates an annual "Week of Respect" in October, during which districts would be required to instruct students on preventing harassment.
It would direct school districts to form a school safety team to foster a positive climate, and it would establish protocol for executive county superintendents to investigate complaints that districts had not followed anti-bullying laws.
"My vote today is for every child that has gone home in tears because he or she was bullied . . . and for every parent who didn't know what to do or where to turn," said Sen. Diane Allen (R., Burlington), at the news conference following the vote.
"We now know where to go, who to contact, and how to deal with these issues."
Public-interest law firms want to challenge the law if the governor signs it, said Greg Quinlan of the New Jersey Family Policy Council, whose website says it is dedicated to upholding the traditional family.
Contact staff writer Maya Rao
at 856-779-3220 or email@example.com.
Inquirer staff writer Rita Giordano contributed to this article, which contains information from the Associated Press.