The New Hampshire House on Wednesday voted against a bill which would have repealed the state's 2-year-old gay marriage law.

Lawmakers voted 211-116 to kill the Republican-backed measure.

Rep. David Bates' bill sought to end gay nuptials in the state and give gay couples civil unions, instead. Bates also called for a non-binding ballot question on the issue. Repeal would have only taken effect on March 31, 2013 if voters agreed in November.

The state's nearly 2,000 existing marriages of gay couples would have remained valid under Bates' bill.

Bates, who previously disputed the accuracy of polls showing that a majority of voters support the current law, said his referendum would let the voters weigh in on the issue.

“Live Free or Die is alive and well in New Hampshire,” Marc Solomon, national campaign director for Freedom to Marry, said in a statement. “Today's vote affirms that Granite Staters stand strongly against stripping away freedoms from any of their neighbors.”

Lawmakers approved and Governor John Lynch signed the state's gay marriage law in 2009.

Gay marriage opponents suggested that voters had expressed their disapproval the following year when Republican regained control of both the House and Senate.

“Our opponents tried to abuse the 2010 Republican legislative sweep in New Hampshire to repeal the popular law,” Solomon added. “What they didn't count on was the fact that the freedom to marry is becoming a bipartisan value, as resoundingly reflected in today's vote.”

Roughly 100 Republicans voted against Bates' measure.