Democratic Maryland State Senator James Brochin has reversed course on his opposition to a proposed gay marriage law.

The 46-year-old sophomore senator on Wednesday announced he was reconsidering his position after listening to nearly 7 hours worth of testimony at a Senate committee's public hearing on the issue.

The Baltimore County lawmaker told reporters on Thursday that the word “marriage” was a “stumbling block” for him.

“It's my stumbling block, and it's my problem,” he said.

Brochin had previously supported civil unions for gay and lesbian couples.

Brochin said on Wednesday that he found the testimony of opponents to be “troubling.”

“The demonization of gay families really bothers me,” Brochin said. “Are these families going to continue to be treated by the law as second class citizens?”

Brochin's support puts gay marriage backers within striking distance of victory in the Senate, where 21 members have now pledged their support. Twenty-four votes are needed for passage and six Democratic senators remain on the fence. According to a Washington Post survey, the undecided are: John C. Astle, Joan Carter Conway, Ulysses Currie, Edward J. Kasemeyer, Katherine A. Klausmeier and James C. Rosapepe.

Equality Maryland, the largest state group lobbying for the bill, applauded Brochin's announcement.

“When people have the facts and hear the real life stories from loving and committed couples hearts and minds can and do change,” the group said.