All non-appropriations bills must have been approved by one of the houses by last Thursday to be passed during this legislative session.
The bill, which will also include age, gender and disability hate crimes if passed, was sponsored by Sen. Jeanne Lucas, D-Durham, and Sen. Brad Miller, D-Johnston.
Miller said he hopes the bill will be considered sometime this year, but he does not feel confident about its current standing.
"I think if the vote were tomorrow, it would probably fail," he said.
Miller added that many lawmakers do not want to take a firm position touchy subjects.
"Legislators get very skittish over rights that consider gays and lesbians," he said.
Miller said the bill has received the most organized opposition from right-wing religious groups.
But it has found strong support in groups that advocate gay and lesbian equality.
One of the groups, Equality N.C., is fully behind the Senate bill, said Ian Palmquist, assistant director of Equality N.C. "Equality N.C. was fully active in getting it drafted," he said.