Maryland Governor to Sign Gay Marriage Into Law It will be 8th state, but opponents plan referendum By John Johnson, Newser Staff Posted Feb 23, 2012 5:58 PM CST 75 comments Comments Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, right, hugs Speaker of the House of Delegates Michael Busch after the House passed a gay marriage bill in Annapolis last week. It cleared the state Senate today. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) (Newser) – Maryland is about to become the eighth state to legalize gay marriage. The state Senate today passed the measure as expected, sending it to Gov. Martin O'Malley for his promised signature, reports the Baltimore Sun. Gay rights supporters might hold off on the bubbly, though: The legislation doesn't go into effect until January 2013, and opponents vow to collect enough signatures to put it up for referendum in November. Public opinion looks to be about evenly split, notes the Sun.