More than 3,000 people have signed on to a petition urging Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski to co-sponsor a bill that would seek to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which forbids federal agencies from recognizing the legal marriages of gay and lesbian couples.

Freedom to Marry will present Mikulski with the petition on Friday at 3PM, the group said in an email to On Top Magazine.

“Recent census data show nearly 17,000 same sex couple living across the state of Maryland,” Freedom to Marry President Evan Wolfson said in a statement. “These loving, committed couples and their families are harmed every day by the denial of marriage, and by federal discrimination against the marriages they are able to celebrate across the border in the District of Columbia and six other states.”

“We hope that Senator Mikulski will heed the call of her constituents and join us in ending marriage discrimination at the federal level and in Maryland,” he added.

Rachel MacKinght, a spokeswoman for Mikulski, told gay weekly the Washington Blade that the senator is “very closely” looking at the legislation.

Gay marriage supporters believe a Maryland delegation united in favor of DOMA repeal would assist in passage of a marriage equality law expected to be introduced by Governor Martin O'Malley in January.

Senator Benjamin Cardin, Maryland's junior senator, co-sponsored the legislation in May.

(Related: Martin O'Malley on gay marriage bill: I think it should pass.)