Washington (CNN) -- The Maryland House of Delegates decided Friday not to vote on a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage, a sign that the measure did not have majority support within the overwhelmingly Democratic legislative body.
After more than two hours of emotional debate, the House agreed to send the bill back to the Judiciary Committee, where it would receive a new round of hearings and be open to the amendment process, a move that could effectively end any prospect of passage this year. The Maryland General Assembly is set to adjourn on April 11.
The measure was approved by the state Senate on February 24 with a 25-21 vote, but a majority of the 141 delegates did not commit to its passage. There are 98 Democrats and 43 Republicans in the House.
Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley has said he would sign the bill into law. He expressed empathy Friday for the state's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered residents.
"As One Maryland we must work together to respect the dignity of every individual. I remain committed to working with all Marylanders to ensure that rights are protected for equally for everyone," he said in a statement.