Openly gay Maryland Delegate Heather R. Mizeur on Friday delivered a passionate plea to colleagues considering a gay marriage bill.

The House of Delegates began debate in the morning on the bill already approved by the Senate, and is expected to take a final vote on the measure later today.

Mizeur, who is legally married to Deborah Mizeur, told lawmakers that she knew at an early age that she was gay.

“Ever since I was a little kid I was told that I'm an old soul, because I was this seven year old kid that had figured out a lot of things about what she was supposed to be when she grew up. I knew I was incredibly spiritual, I knew that my Catholic faith meant a lot to me, I already knew at that young age, in ways that I can't explain entirely, that I wanted to be an elected official when I grew up. … And I also knew that I was gay.”

“At that time, I thought, 'Well, I can't be gay and be a elected official.' How can I be gay and be Catholic,” she added.

“I prayed, and I prayed, and I prayed. I prayed it would go away, especially the gay part. Make it go away.”

“It's love that makes a family, but it's marriage that protects it,” she later says in describing her own marriage of five years.

“That's all we are asking for, is the ability to protect our relationships and that commitment to forever.”

“I choose love, not just Deborah, but I love all of you. I love each and everyone of you. … I love you. We have to love each other. God loves you. Examine your conscience. Do the right thing: cast your vote in favor of love.”