Maryland Senate approves same sex marriage bill, virtually assuring passage

Maryland's state senate on Thursday passed a bill to legalize same-sex marriage. Governor Martin O'Malley, a Democrat, sponsored the bill and will soon sign it into law, the Baltimore Sun reported.

Seven other states permit same-sex marriage: Connecticut, Massachusetts, Washington, Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York, plus the District of Columbia and several native American tribes. 

Maryland will be the third state to legalize same-sex marriage by legislative action in less than a year. New York passed a bill last July and Washington passed its own earlier this month. 

More from GlobalPost: As NJ vetoes gay marriage bill, Maryland's advances

The Sun wrote, "A similar effort to legalize gay marriage in Maryland failed last year after it died in the House of Delegates without coming to a vote. In July 2011, O’Malley, a Democrat, announced he would include a gay marriage law in his legislative package that would allow religious organizations to refuse to conduct same-sex weddings."

More from GlobalPost: Washington state governor Christine Gregoire signs gay marriage into law

The Los Angeles Times reported that Wade Kach, a Republican member of the House of Delegates, changed his opinion due to a "chance shake-up" of seating in the legislature. "I saw with so many of the gay couples, they were so devoted to one another. I saw so much love," he said to the Times. "When this hearing was over, I was a changed person in regard to this issue. I felt that I understood what same sex couples were looking for."

CNN reports that supporters of gay marriage now outnumber opponents. When the Defense of Marriage Act was passed in 1996, only 27 percent of Americans supported same-sex marriage. Now that number is 53 percent.

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