Hawaii’s House has shelved a bill which would have allowed gay couples the right to have civil unions.

Although the Senate approved the bill last week, the House voted on Friday to indefinitely postpone it.

The bill easily passed the legislature last year but stalled after protests from conservatives.

It would have given same-sex couples in the US state all of the rights and benefits of marriage.

Some observers said that lawmakers were reluctant to act on a controversial measure in an election year.

Stephen Nagle of Kaaawa told Associated Press: “It’s an election year, and they’re more concerned about keeping their seats than doing what’s right.”