A gay marriage bill cleared the Maryland House of Delegates on Friday with the help of several lawmakers who were previously opposed.

According to The Washington Post, supporters believed they had the 71 votes needed for passage. But two days before the vote, Democratic Delegate Veronica L. Turner, a supporter of the legislation, was rushed to the hospital and would not be present on Friday to vote.

Two Democrats previously opposed to the legislation – Delegates John L. Bohanan and Tiffany Alston – said they voted in favor of the bill to allow the issue to go to referendum. Opponents have vowed to put the issue on the ballot, if approved by lawmakers.

Bohanan texted House Speaker Michael E. Busch at 6AM on Friday to say that he would vote for the measure.

“Once I began to look at this through the eyes off my own kids and other young people, it became pretty clear,” the father of four sons told the paper. “You want them to have love, and if that's how they want to express it, you want them to be able to do it openly.”

Alston, who retreated from her support last year after an intense lobbying effort from opponents, said on the House floor that she was voting for the legislation to allow the people of Maryland to vote on the issue in a referendum.

Republican Delegate Wade Kach, who just days earlier voted against the measure in committee, told colleagues that his mind was changed during that committee's hearing.

Kach said he was touched by the testimony of a lesbian couple who were barred from sharing custody of their child.

“As a pro-life legislator, I believe that it is my responsibility to make certain that children are taken care of. This child, if this couple were to be able to have a civil marriage, would be taken care of. This child would have the rights that a child of a traditional married couple would have. So, I left that hearing a changed person,” he said.

The measure cleared the chamber with 72 votes. It now heads to the Senate, where it is expected to pass.

(Related: NOM calls on Maryland Senate to reject gay marriage.)