A congressional committee has rejected Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto's proposal to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide.

Pena Nieto in May proposed a constitutional amendment which would give gay couples the right to marry.

Congress' 28-member Commission on Constitutional Matters in the lower house (the Chamber of Deputies) rejected the president's proposal with a 19-8 vote, with one abstention, the AP reported.

In a summary by the Chamber of Deputies, commission chairman Edgar Castillo Martinez is quoted as saying that the issue is “totally and definitively concluded.”

Pena Nieto submitted the proposal nearly a year after the nation's highest court ruled that state marriage laws that exclude gay couples are unconstitutional. While lower courts must abide by the ruling, few challenges to state bans have been filed. In 2009, Mexico City, with its nearly 9 million residents, became the first municipality in Mexico to legalize such unions. Despite last year's ruling, gay couples can marry in only a handful of states.

The Roman Catholic group National Front for the Family in September organized tens of thousands of people to protest the president's proposal. Supporters also held demonstrations.

(Related: Boy confronts thousands of protesters marching against gay marriage in Mexico.)