Maryland’s marriage equality bill officially becomes law Thursday. The Associated Press reports Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley will gladly fulfill his promise to sign the legislation during a 5 p.m. ceremony. The location is yet to be determined, an O’Malley spokesman said.


Maryland state Senate approved the measure by a 25-22 vote last Thursday. The state’s House of Delegates approved the marriage equality bill in a 71-67 vote.

Once O’Malley signs the dotted line, Maryland becomes the nation’s eighth state to legally recognize same-sex marriages. The law takes effect in Jan. 2013. However, anti-gay forces are mobilizing to launch a referendum campaign—putting marriage equality before voters in November.

In fact, they’ve began collecting the nearly 56,000 signatures necessary to put the question on the ballot. Several African-American churches and Catholic groups have banded together to repeal the law, according to the Washington Post .

O’Malley, who promised to make marriage equality a cornerstone of legislative session, is ready to campaign to keep the law in place.