Maryland Delegate Peter F. Murphy announced Friday during a debate on a gay marriage bill that he's gay.

In an interview with gay weekly the Washington Blade published Wednesday, Murphy, a divorced father of two and grandfather, denied he was closeted.

“I have never denied [being gay],” Murphy told the paper, “I just presumed people knew.”

Murphy, however, was not one of the six openly gay delegates signing onto a letter urging the House to approve a gay marriage bill.

The letter, released over the weekend, was signed by Democratic Delegates Luke Clippinger, Bonnie Cullison, Anne Kaiser, Maggie McIntosh, Heather R. Mizeur and Mary Washington.

News of Murphy's self-outing apparently had not reached several of his colleagues in the House. After a House member referred to the chamber's six openly gay members, Murphy stood up to say: “In all due respect I would just like to correct something to my good friend the sponsor of the bill, there are seven in this House.” Murphy's announcement was greeted with loud applause.

The Maryland House began debate on the gay marriage bill in the morning and is expected to take a final vote on the measure later today.