The bill cleared the House Finance Committee on Wednesday on a 7-6 party-line vote with Republicans in opposition.
The proposal, approved by the House Judiciary Committee last week, is expected to clear the Appropriations Committee when it meets on Friday, and be voted on by the full House next week, the last step before the governor’s desk.
The bill, sponsored by out gay lawmakers Speaker of the House Mark Ferrandino and state Rep. Sue Schafer, would establish state recognition for same-sex couples. Both are Democrats.
Republicans say the proposal violates the will of voters who banned same-sex marriage in 2006. Democrats say public opinion has changed since then, and that civil unions is not marriage equality.
The state Senate passed the bill last month.