The Maryland House of Delegates has voted to return a gay marriage bill to committee.

The House acted after hearing hours of debate and rejecting two proposed amendments to the legislation.

Delegate Cheryl D. Glenn, a Democrat from Baltimore, sponsored an amendment that would have offered civil unions to gay and lesbian couple instead of marriage.

A second amendment, introduced late Thursday by Democratic Delegate John A. Olszewski, sought to broaden the bill's religious exceptions.

Backers also fought off four amendments considered unfriendly on Wednesday.

After nearly three hours of debate, the 141-member House moved to return the bill to the Judiciary Committee. The measure stumbled out of that committee after two members reversed their votes.

According to the Baltimore Sun, the bill's fate remains unknown.

“It's unclear what will happen next,” the paper reported. “As recently as this morning, gay marriage supporters were scurrying to reach the 71 votes needed for passage. Recommitting the bill to House Judiciary give them more time, but it also further deflates momentum.”