A bill which would make Washington the seventh state to legalize gay marriage cleared a House panel on Monday.

The House Judiciary Committee approved the measure with a 7 to 5 vote after hearing an hour's worth of testimony from supporters and opponents. One lawmaker abstained from voting.

The panel voted against 5 amendments before sending the measure to the full House. One amendment would have expanded the bill's religious protections to include private businesses and individuals. Another would have put the measure up for a public vote.

Testifying before the committee was 13-year-old Allison who said she opposed the legislation because children would be denied either a mother or a father.

β€œI'm concerned that this bill does not protect the religious beliefs of business owners who may not want to support the same-sex marriage. I believe that every child deserves the love of a mother and a father. Each of these parents have a unique role to play in the life of a child,” she testified.

β€œIn order to walk properly you must wear one left shoe and one right shoe. Wearing two left shoes or two right shoes it becomes hard to walk. It is the same in a family.”

The House could vote on the bill as early as Wednesday, a week after the Senate gave its approval. Governor Chris Gregoire has urged lawmakers to approve the legislation.