A bill which would recognize gay and lesbian couples with civil unions cleared a Colorado Senate committee on Tuesday.

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved the measure with a 5-4 party-line vote on Tuesday morning, Denver's Fox31 reported.

A vote in the Democrat-controlled Senate is expected as early as next week. With a nearly 2 to 1 majority, lawmakers in the chamber approved the bill last year.

After the bill died in a Republican-controlled House committee last year, supporters have said they are looking for a Republican to sponsor the measure this year.

“In the coming days and weeks, we're committed to working to ensure a fair hearing in the Colorado House of Representatives,” Brad Clark, executive director of One Colorado, the state's largest gay rights advocate, told the station. “Issues of significant importance with overwhelming public support like civil unions deserve a full and fair hearing with an up-or-down vote by the entire House.”

A poll released last week found that seventy-five percent of Colorado voters support recognizing gay couples with either marriage (47%) or civil unions (28%). Only 22 percent said there should be no legal recognition whatsoever for the relationships of gay couples.