Three Maryland delegates on Thursday came out in support of Governor Martin O'Malley's plan to make Maryland the eighth state to legalize gay marriage, reported.

During a brief evening session, the Maryland House approved an amendment pushing back the bill's effective date to January from October. The move gives opponents time to file for a referendum. Members then adjourned the session until Friday.

A final vote on the measure could come as early as Friday.

The amendment was introduced by Republican Delegate Wade Kach, who announced he would be voting in favor of the bill.

A second Republican, Delegate Robert Costa, had previously announced support for the measure.

Democratic members Pam Beidle and John Oslzewski also announced their support on Thursday.

Beidle said she still believes voters should get the final say on the issue.

“I've never had an issue where we've heard from so many people,” Beidle said. “I know this is a representative government, but some issues are so important that everybody should have a voice.”

Passage in the House is critical for the bill to reach the governor's desk. A similar measure cleared the Senate last year before the House shelved it due to lack of support.

Republican Delegate Don H. Dwyer Jr., a vocal opponent of the legislation, told the Washington Times that passage in the chamber wasn't assured.

“It's not over until the votes are taken on the floor tomorrow,” he said. “So we'll wait and see what happens.”