Delaware Governor Jack Markell on Friday said gay marriage in his state is inevitable.

In an interview with Reuters Insider TV, Markell said he expects that lawmakers in Delaware will debate a gay marriage bill “probably within the next few years.”

The 51-year-old Democratic governor last year called on lawmakers to approve a bill that recognizes gay and lesbian couples with civil unions, which he signed into law.

“I think it's inevitable,” he said of marriage equality in Delaware.

Markell's comments come a day after Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley signed a gay marriage bill approved by lawmakers into law, making Maryland the eighth state to legalize gay nuptials.

Maryland's law will go into effect in January 2013 unless opponents repeal it at the ballot box in November.

Washington state will also join Massachusetts, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, New York and the District of Columbia in allowing gay couples to marry this June. However, opponents have vowed to block the law's start by qualifying for a referendum.

New Jersey lawmakers also approved a gay marriage bill last month, but Governor Chris Christie vetoed the legislation.

(Related: Chris Christie insists gay marriage is not about rights.)