Senator Clayton Hee, chair of the Hawaii Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee, told reporters on Saturday that he expects the Senate will give final approval to a gay marriage bill on Tuesday.

Hee, a Democrat, announced that he would recommend passage of the bill as amended in a House committee and approved Friday by the full House.

(Related: Gay marriage bill clears Hawaii House.)

“There are very few opportunities to participate in government in decisions that define your career, and this is one of those decisions that will define the careers of all the members in the Legislature,” Hee is quoted as telling reporters by the Honolulu Star Advertiser.

The Senate approved the marriage bill last week. But a return trip is necessary for senators to consider amendments approved during the House committee phase.

“Although Hawaii was not the first to enact same-sex marriage, what shouldn't be lost is Hawaii was the first – in the Baehr v. Lewin lawsuit – that started the same-sex marriage discussion nationally,” he said, a reference to the landmark 1993 Supreme Court case that struck down the state's law limiting marriage to heterosexual couples. Five years later, voters responded by approving a constitutional amendment which gives lawmakers “the power to reserve marriage to opposite-sex couples.”

Hee predicted a 21-4 vote in the Senate, with three Democrats voting against the measure.

Democratic Governor Neil Abercrombie applauded Friday's passage in the House and has pledged his signature.

State Rep. Bob McDermott, a Republican, announced Friday that he plans to ask a court to block the law's start. McDermott argues that the 1998 amendment gives lawmakers the power to only define marriage as a heterosexual union.