The Hawaii Senate on Tuesday gave its final approval to a gay marriage bill, sending it to Democratic Governor Neil Abercrombie, who has said he will sign the bill as amended in the House.

Abercrombie could sign the bill as early as Wednesday, according to local reports.

Senators approved the marriage bill with 19-4 vote with two members excused.

Senator Clayton Hee, chair of the Senate's judiciary committee and the bill's champion in the Senate, urged colleagues to back the measure.

“We are here today to enact legislation centered around the values of citizenship, value and courage,” Hee said on the Senate floor.

Hee ended his remarks by reading a letter from Edith Windsor, the lesbian who challenged the constitutionality of a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and won. Windsor's case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The court's June ruling led to the federal government's recognition of the legal marriages of gay couples.

Windsor thanked Hee “from the bottom of my heart” for his support of marriage equality. “[D]o whatever it takes to get the bill passed, even a law with religious exemptions,” Windsor wrote.

Abercrombie, who signed a civil unions bill in 2011, also pointed to the ruling in calling for the special session. He noted that gay couples in a civil union cannot access a broad range of federal benefits, unlike married couples.

The chamber's lone Republican, Minority Leader Sam Slom, likened the marriage bill to the Affordable Care Act, widely known as Obamacare, saying that details would be discovered after its approval.

“You can't legislate morality,” Slom told colleagues.

Democratic Senator Mike Gabbard reiterated a common argument of opponents, that the legislation was being rushed.

The Legislature needs to “slow down, pause, realize how important this issue is to the people and take time to deliberate,” Gabbard said on the Senate floor.

Opponents who had taken over the capitol rotunda as the bill moved through the House largely ignored Tuesday's session, with supporters – who waved rainbow flags – outnumbering opponents.

Hawaii joins Illinois in being a signature away from legalizing gay nuptials.