A Maryland Senate panel on Tuesday approved a gay marriage bill and sent it along to the full Senate.

The Senate Judiciary Proceedings Committee approved the proposed legislation with a 7-4 vote after conducting an emotional public hearing earlier this month.

The committee acted just days after the measure narrowly cleared a long-standing hurdle in the House of Delegates.

The Senate approved a similar bill last year before it fizzled in the House.

Supporters have said they believe they still have the support of the 25 senators who voted for the measure last year.

“Truthfully, we're just working on preserving the 25 [votes],” Carrie Evans, executive director for Equality Maryland, told The Washington Post.

Only one Senate Republican, Senator Allan Kittleman of Howard, voted in favor of the measure last year.

Democratic Senator James Brochin reconsidered his opposition to marriage equality last year after listening to nearly 7 hours of testimony at a public hearing.

Brochin said that he found the testimony of opponents to be “troubling.”

“The demonization of gay families really bothers me,” Brochin said. “Are these families going to continue to be treated by the law as second class citizens?”

Brochin said he did not think Republicans were likely to prolong the voting process.

“I think Republicans have just realized that a lot of attitudes have changed over the last four or five years and it's not as polarizing as it once was,” he told The Washington Post.