A bill which would recognize gay and lesbian couples with civil unions on Thursday cleared the Colorado House panel that killed the proposal last year.

According to the AP, the Colorado House Judiciary Committee approved the measure with a 6-5 vote. The Senate overwhelmingly approved the measure last Thursday.

Rep. B.J. Nikkel, a Republican who is not running for re-election and voted against the bill last year, said hearing the testimony of gay couples moved her to change her vote.

“I was looking over the crowd and thinking, 'These are all folks that deserve to be treated equally,'” Nikkel told the AP.

Rep. Mark Ferrandino, the openly gay leader of the Democrats in the House, sponsored the bill in the House after Democrats came up empty on locating a Republican to carry the measure.

Byron Babione of the Christian conservative Alliance Defense Fund testified against passage, telling lawmakers that civil unions are “marriage without the name.”

Supporters outnumbered opponents at the packed hearing, many wearing red shirts that read, “One Love.”

“I ask you to vote tonight in favor of all of your constituents,” Jason Cobb told lawmakers. “We're more than a political issue. We're your family, we're your neighbors, your sons, your daughters, your grandchildren. I ask you to vote for family tonight.”

A poll released earlier this month 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.

The proposal now heads to the 13-member Finance Committee.