The National Organization for Marriage recently commissioned Lawrence Research to conduct a survey of opinions on gay marriage in Maryland.

NOM's poll released Thursday found that 54 percent of self-identified registered voters oppose lawmakers' plans to legalize the institution, and only 37 percent approve.

A whopping seventy-eight percent of those surveyed say the issue should be put up for a vote.

“The results of this poll strongly affirm that we are on the right side of Maryland voters,” Brian Brown, president of NOM, said in a press release announcing the poll's findings. “Not only do voters support marriage by a 17-point margin, but they reject the Legislature's efforts to impose this without public input. We'll continue to fight to block the current legislation [sic] push in the General Assembly, but this poll shows beyond any doubt that despite what the legislature does, the people will have the final say, and they will support marriage.”

A Maryland Senate panel approved the bill on Thursday and passed it along to the full Senate.

In 2008, Lawrence Research was heavily involved in the effort to get California's gay marriage ban, Proposition 8, passed. According to records from the California Secretary of State, the Orange County-based firm received payments in excess of $528,800 from between July 30 and December 17, 2008 for polling and research. Moreover, company founder Gary Lawrence served as the grassroots director for the Yes on 8 campaign organized by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Mormons. The church's members played a large financial and organizational role in getting Proposition 8 approved.