On Thursday afternoon, the Maryland Senate approved a same-sex marriage bill which is now on it’s way to state Governor Martin O’Malley, who promised to sign the legislation that would make Maryland the 8th state in the USA to allow gay marriage.
The Senate voted in favor of the bill which had previously been approved by the state’s lower House of Delegates, by 25 to 22.
“I’m elated. I feel very good about democracy today, I feel very good about equality and freedom and marriage,” said Democratic Senator Jamie Raskin, who supported the bill and defended it throughout the debate, reported Reuters.
O’Malley’s office could not predict when a signing ceremony might take place to pass the legislation into law.
“Maryland will now be able to protect individual civil marriage rights & religious freedom equally,” O’Malley said on his official Twitter feed about a minute after the vote.
Opponents of the measure have said they will push for a voter referendum to repeal it.
They would need nearly 56,000 signatures to get the measure on the ballot, according to the Maryland State Board of Elections. They would need to submit one-third of those signatures by May 31 and the remainder by June 30 to get the measure on the November ballot.
“I think the voters will have a say in it,” said Republican Senator David Brinkley.