The Maryland Senate will begin debate on a gay marriage bill on Wednesday, the Associated Press reported.

The bill was read in the Senate on Tuesday after a key panel approved the measure on Thursday.

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller announced debate will begin on Wednesday and could vote on it next week.

Miller asked lawmakers to act “gentlemanlike” and “ladylike” during the debate.

Twenty-four Senate members favor the measure, the minimum needed for passage.

Senate Minority Leader Nancy Jacobs, a Republican, said she expects an anticipated filibuster attempt to fail. Governor Martin O'Malley has pledged to sign the bill into law, which would make Maryland the sixth state to legalize the institution.

Opponents of marriage equality have promised to mount a campaign to repeal the law, if approved by lawmakers.

Over the weekend, the chairman of the Maryland Republican Party mounted a campaign against gay marriage by targeting Democrats who favor its legalization. Alex Mooney's rallying cry, however, excluded Senator Allan H. Kittleman, a Republican from Howard, who has stated he'll vote in favor of the bill.