Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley on Thursday signed the states "civil marriage" bill, making Maryland the eighth state in the United States to sign gay marriage into law.
Also signing the bill was delegate Maggie McIntosh, the state's first openly gay lawmaker. Before signing the bill O'Malley said:
"The way forward is always found through greater respect for the equal rights of all. Let's sign the bill."
In the meantime the AP says the bills future hinges on black churches throughout the state. Many of those churches leaders oppose same-sex marriage and they have already began pushing the bills "evils" during sermons.
The black churches support is a potential pivotal area of contention in the state which is one-third black. Turnout for black voters is also expected to be high again in 2012 as President Obama seeks re-election.
Rev. Derek McCoy of the Maryland Marriage Alliance says of the bill:
"We're in full swing to put this on the ballot and let the people decide. Not the governor, who brings a unique level of craftiness and tricks to the process."