More than 5,000 people signed up to testify at a hearing considering a proposal to legalize gay marriage in Hawaii.

Thirty House members from two committees heard from constituents on the issue during a joint hearing which ended after midnight. Lawmakers planned on resuming the hearing on Friday morning. An additional 15,000 pages of written testimony were submitted ahead of the hearing.

Thursday's hearing started a day after the Senate overwhelmingly approved the legislation.

But the bill is having a rockier ride in the House, where votes are tight.

Amendments expanding the bill's religious exemptions to include businesses were expected to be filed in the House.

Opponents insisted that the issue was being rushed.

“If they don't know what's going to happen, why are we rushing this?” Melanie Vakalabure, 26, testified through tears.

However, Hawaii has been debating the issue for over two decades.

In 2011, Governor Neil Abercrombie, a Democrat, signed a civil unions bill which his predecessor, Republican Linda Lingle vetoed. Abercrombie said that he called this week's special session in response to the Supreme Court's June decision striking down the Defense of Marriage (DOMA), which left gay couples in civil unions unable to access federal benefits.