Delaware Governor Jack Markell, a rising star in the Democratic Party, told supporters of gay marriage on Monday that he is ready to sign a bill legalizing such unions.

“It can happen here in Delaware and it can happen this year,” Markell said. “But it will only happen if you do your part to make it happen.”

Markell, who signed a civil unions bill into law two years ago, was speaking to a gathering of roughly 200 supporters at the University of Delaware's Trabant University Center, The News Journal reported.

A bill which seeks to make Delaware the 10th state to legalize marriage for gay and lesbian couples is expected to be pre-filed Thursday by Rep. Melanie George Smith, the Democrat who sponsored the civil unions bill in the House. Lawmakers return to work next week.

“This is not about watching history happen,” Markell said. “This is about making history and this is your opportunity.”

“If you promise to do your part and to assure that the marriage equality bill reaches my desk this year, I make a promise to you: I will sign it.”