A bill that would recognize gay and lesbian couples with civil unions is expected to face its first legislative hurdle Tuesday.

Representative Peter Petrarca, a Democrat from Lincoln, introduced his civil unions bill after House Speaker Gordon Fox announced a gay marriage proposal has “no realistic chance” of being approved in the General Assembly this session. Fox, who is gay and backs marriage equality, said he would shift away from marriage and toward civil unions for gay couples as a compromise.

After hearing from disgruntled constituents last week, the House Judiciary Committee has scheduled a vote on the measure for Tuesday.

At the hearing held on Wednesday, gay marriage supporters and opponents panned the compromise.

Supporters of marriage equality groused that separate is never equal, while opponents objected to civil unions on the grounds the legislation would be used as a steppingstone to marriage, prompting Petrarca to say both sides were “acting like schoolchildren.”

The compromise comes on the heels of a failed effort to legalize such unions in Maryland. Lawmakers in New York are also considering expanding the definition of marriage to include gay and lesbian couples. A rally against the proposal is planned for Sunday.