Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown favors gay marriage.

Brown made his comments in an interview with gay weekly the Washington Blade published on Thursday.

“I have always believed that all Marylanders should have an equality of rights and responsibilities, and that includes marriage equality,” Brown said. “So regardless of gender, we should be able to choose who it is that we are going to marry and hopefully spend the rest of our lives with. And so I'm supportive of that.”

A gay marriage bill has been introduced in both chambers of the Legislature.

Brown added that if the law was approved, gay marriage foes would likely challenge the measure at the ballot box.

“It's not a high hurdle in Maryland to get an issue on the ballot,” he said. “So it would be on the ballot for 2012 during the presidential campaign.”

Maryland is among the 17 states where a majority of people support gay marriage.

Earlier on Thursday, Republican State Senator Allan Kittleman announced he would vote in favor of the bill and drop plans to introduce a competing measure that would limit government recognition of gay and lesbian couples to civil unions.

During a closed-door meeting, the Senate's GOP caucus voted to take an official position against the measure. Such a position requires the backing of a majority of members.

Kittleman stepped down as Senate minority leader last month in part over his dissenting opinion on marriage equality.

The measure needs 24 votes to pass in the Senate, where 19 senators are currently on record in favor of the legislation.