Time ran out Thursday before the Texas House had a chance to vote on a controversial bill which sought to prohibit state or local governments from using public funds to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples.

The bill, HB 4105, introduced by Republican Rep. Cecil Bell, came 23 bills from a vote before the midnight deadline for House bills arrived.

A majority of Republicans had signed on as co-sponsors of the bill, guaranteeing its passage had it reached the House floor.

Democrats kept the bill at bay by prolonging debate, a practice called “chubbing.”

However, the legislative session does not end until June.

“From my perspective, no bill is dead as long as there are other bills in front. You just have to find something that's germane,” Bell told The Texas Tribune. “The session still moves on.”

That is, the bill could return as an amendment to a related Senate bill.

The measure is a response to a Supreme Court case challenging bans on gay marriage in four states. Texas' ban would become unenforceable if the high court ruled such bans unconstitutional. A ruling is expected next month.