A Texas House committee on Wednesday approved a bill that seeks to prohibit gay couples from marrying.

Republican Rep. Cecil Bell's Preservation of Sovereignty & Marriage Act (HB 4105) cleared the State Affairs Committee with the support of its 7 Republican members. Democrats on the committee rejected the measure.

“The intent is to assert the sovereign rights of Texas and of the citizens of Texas,” Bell said. “I believe it is a bipartisan issue – our social rights and our traditional values.”

The proposed legislation seeks to cut off funding for issuing marriage licenses to gay couples.

A federal judge last year struck down Texas' voter-approved constitutional amendment limiting marriage to heterosexual couples. An appeals court heard arguments in the case in January.

Gay rights advocates criticized Bell's bill.

“HB 4105 is blatant discrimination, which is bad for business and our reputation nationwide,” Christina Gorczynski, campaign director for Texas Wins, said in a statement.

The issue moves to the nation's highest court next week. The Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case challenging bans in Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee and Kentucky.