A Rhode Island bill that would recognize gay and lesbian couples with civil unions cleared a House committee on Tuesday.

The House Judiciary Committee approved the measure with a 9-3 vote, sending the measure to the full House, which has scheduled a Thursday vote.

Lawmakers were supposed to debate gay marriage this session, but House Speaker Gordon Fox, who is gay and backs marriage equality, offered civil unions as a compromise after announcing that a gay marriage proposal has “no realistic chance” of being approved in the General Assembly this session.

Gay marriage supporters, however, are expected to attempt a last-ditch effort on Thursday with a House floor amendment to the civil unions bill that would transform it into a gay marriage bill. House Representative Arthur Handy, the original sponsor of the now dead gay marriage bill, is expected to introduce the amendment.

“We've never enshrined discrimination in our laws, and that's what this [civil unions bill] does,” Handy told the AP. “People have worked so hard on this issue. This is the year, and this is the path to do it.”

After committee members voted on the civil unions bill, an opponent of gay marriage was forcefully removed for shouting at lawmakers. “It doesn't matter what the people want,” she shouted. “This is not a democratic society.”