A Pennsylvania House panel on Tuesday will consider a resolution that seeks to ban gay marriage in the state.

The House State Government Committee will take up the issue when it meets at 9AM at the Capital.

Representative Daryl Metcalfe's proposal would amend the Pennsylvania Constitution to ban recognition of any “substantial equivalent” to heterosexual marriage. The Republican lawmaker introduced his measure last year.

“The institution of traditional marriage has never been under greater attack,” Metcalfe said in introducing the amendment. “This not only includes the special interests who want to permanently redefine marriage, but unfortunately the executive branch and the federal Department of Justice who have blatantly and recklessly refused to uphold and defend its constitutionality. Once again, it falls to the responsibility of state lawmakers to restore the rule of law and carry out the will of the people.”

The question could appear on the 2013 ballot, if approved by two consecutive sessions of the Legislature.

The measure is almost certain to clear the panel, which is chaired by Metcalfe.

Nearly 3,000 people have signed an Equality Pennsylvania petition calling on lawmakers to drop the amendment and focus on economic issues instead.

In 2010, three Republican senators crossed the aisle to help defeat a similar measure sponsored by Senator John H. Eichelberger, Jr.

Currently, Pennsylvania bans gay marriage by law. Opponents say the institution remains vulnerable to a legal challenge without a constitutional amendment.

Voters in two states, North Carolina and Minnesota, will consider similar amendments this year.