A Nevada Senate committee on Thursday approved a proposed constitutional amendment which seeks to legalize gay marriage in the state.

The Senate Committee on Legislative Operations and Elections approved the measure on a party-line, 3-2 vote.

Senator Tick Segerblom's joint resolution originally sought only to remove from the Nevada constitution the state's definition of marriage approved by voters in 2002 which says, “Only a marriage between a male and female person shall be recognized and given effect in this state.” But a last-minute amendment adopted by the panel adds that the state “shall recognize marriages and issue marriage licenses, regardless of gender.”

“We felt it would be cleaner to both eliminate the current prohibition and make it clear Nevada does not discriminate in any way,” Segerblom said.

The resolution needs the approval of two separately elected Legislatures, making 2016 the earliest it could reach the voters.

Nevada currently recognizes gay and lesbian couples with domestic partnerships. As of April 1, 4,157 couples have entered the union, though some are of the opposite sex.

The resolution now goes to the full Senate.