The Montana House on Tuesday approved a bill which seeks to repeal the state's law making gay sex a crime. A final House vote could come as early as Wednesday.

The House approved the measure 64-36 after a short but at times emotional debate.

“It's not about encouraging a lifestyle,” Rep. Bryce Bennett, a Democrat and the Legislature's only openly gay member, told colleagues. “It's simply about respecting privacy between two adults. … It's just as simple as saying that all Montanans deserve dignity and respect.”

Twenty-five Republicans crossed the aisle to join all 39 House Democrats to vote in favor of repeal. All members voting against the bill were Republicans.

Montana's law outlaws gay sex and “sexual intercourse with an animal.”

Similar laws remains on the books in 14 states despite a 2003 Supreme Court ruling which declared Texas' sodomy law to be unconstitutional in Lawrence v. Texas.

Rep. Duane Ankney, a Republican, spoke out against the law, saying it labeled his own daughter a criminal.

“To say she is any less of a person or a criminal for her lifestyle … really upsets me,” Ankney said. “I consider myself a good Christian … and I don't think God thinks any less of my daughter than he does of any one of you in here. The law is an embarrassment on the people of Montana. It should go away.”

Republican Rep. Jerry Bennett told colleagues that supporting the bill would violate his pledge to God.

“It is the thief, the devil, that comes to steal our life, to kill us, to rob us,” Bennett said. “Christ said I come so that you might have life to the fullest. That's my desire for everyone here.”