The legislation was voted down by Republican lawmakers on a 5-to-4 vote along party lines after more than two hours of emotional testimony in the State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee, where it was assigned Monday by Republican leadership in the House of Representatives.

“We saw this bill die even though a majority of members of the Senate and a majority of members of the House and the governor, as well as a vast majority of Coloradans, want to see this become law,” said Representative Mark Ferrandino of Denver, one of four openly gay state legislators and a sponsor of the bill. “It is very unfortunate. Families across Colorado are going to have to wait longer for equal rights in our state.”

Supporters had come tantalizingly close to passing the legislation this year after several Republicans decided to break party ranks and back it.