Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley's plan to make Maryland the eighth state to legalize gay marriage will face its first floor debate on Thursday.

The House of Delegates will begin debate on the gay marriage bill Thursday, just days after two House committees sent it to the full House. An emotional hearing on the bill attracted dozens of supporters and opponents and ran well into the night.

Floor debate on the bill, which was supposed to begin on Wednesday, was pushed back a day with a procedural move.

“This just gives everyone a chance to have a good look at it,” said Delegate Shane Pendergrass.

House members could vote on the bill as early as Friday, which could be the end of the road for supporters.

A similar bill passed the state Senate last year and narrowly cleared a House committee before it was shelved in the House due to lack of support.

On Monday, O'Malley attempted to put a positive spin on the bill's chances, but conceded that the measure remained “a couple” of votes shy in the House.

“We need a couple more votes and people always make their decisions against deadlines,” O'Malley told reporters.