The US state of New Jersey has announced it will introduce legislation to extend equal marriage rights to gay couples this year, but if the Governor blocks the laws, small business TV mentor Tabatha Coffey says she is prepared to step in and take over.

Senate President Stephen Sweeney and House Speaker Sheila Oliver said yesterday they will fast-track and prioritise the new rules in the new legislative session.

The proposed law has support from US salon guru and New Jersey resident Tabatha Coffey, who backed the effort in an interview with PinkNews.co.uk.

Coffey’s show Tabatha Takes Over, formerly Tabatha’s Salon Takeover, follows her around the US as she takes control of small businesses to transform their owners’ prospects.

She told interviewer Laurence Watts she would be prepared to do the same to Republican Governor Chris Christie if he blocks the legislation.

Christie is a long-standing opponent of equal marriage rights. Senate President Sweeney said he was “a decent person” but they would have to “work on educating him”.

If that fails, Tabatha Coffey is prepared to step in and take over in her trademark style to ensure equality.

In a message to Christie about new legislation, she said: “Pass it! And if he doesn’t, maybe I’ll have to do a takeover of the Governor’s Office on the next season of Tabatha Takes Over. Who knows, maybe I’ll even run for Governor myself.”

Interviewer Laurence Watts said: “Tabatha has always been a strong advocate for the LGBT community. When I brought it up it was the first she’d heard of the New Jersey Senate’s and Assembly’s plans to reintroduce a bill legalizing same-sex marriage. As an ally in the fight for equality and a long term New Jersey resident she not surprisingly expressed support for the proposed legislation.

“I have no doubt that were she to perform one of her legendary takeovers on the Governor’s Office it would run a lot more smoothly afterwards.”

Marc Solomon, National Campaign Director of Freedom to Marry said: “What New Jersey’s legislative leaders are telling us clearly today is that the Garden State values its gay and lesbian citizens fully, and does not accept treating same-sex couples and their families as second class citizens, as it presently does with civil unions.

“Marriage matters for same-sex couples and their families, both because it says we’re a family through thick and thin in a way that nothing else does, and because it provides a critical safety-net of protections that civil unions do not.”