"The bill is on."
Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley signed the gay marriage bill into law.
"The way forward is always found through greater respect for the equal rights of all."
Maryland joins 7 other states and Washington DC with laws allowing gay couples to wed. It's been a hotly debated issue that cuts cross political, racial, social and religious backgrounds.
Under the new law, gay couples at Maryland wouldn't be able to marry until next year. David Foertschbeck and Dan Wilkey say they are already planning.
"We will get married next year probably at some point but we will wait until it gets over the hurdle, the last hurdle."
"That's got wrong."
Opponents of the same sex law have vowed to bring the measure to a referendum and let the voters decide in November.
Maryland lawmaker Emmett Burns: "I have in my hands a pencil and it has an eraser on the end. They might as well have signed that bill in lead."
Some African-American churches and clergy members are also pushing for a referendum. They oppose the law saying it violates their tradition of defining marriage as between a man and a woman.
Same sex marriage legislation and laws face obstacles in other states as well. In New Jersey, the legislature passed the bill to allow gays to marry, but the measure was vetoed by the governor.
In California, gay marriage remains on hold since voters there narrowly approved a referendum called "Proposition 8" to ban it in 2008. A federal appeals court has stroked down the ban as unconstitutional. But the case is still in litigation. It may ultimately be decided by the U.S Supreme Court as early as next year. However, legal experts say any ruling would only apply to California.
"The really marriage is between a man and a woman. And whether or not people like that or not, that's what the people want." Says a Proposition 8 Supporter.
"Please join me in welcoming the President of the United States, Barack Obama."
President Obama says he supports letting states decide, but personally favors so called civil unions.
"I believe that the marriage is between a man and a woman. But I also think that same sexual partners should be able to visit each other in hospitals. They should be able to transfer properties."
Mr. Obama has come under fire from some in the gay communities for not supporting national efforts to legalize same sex marriage.
Several states like Illinois, Nevada and Oregon allow Civil Unions but have constitutional amendments or statutes that prohibit same sex marriage.
Analysts say the debate will continue to intensify during this election year as public opinion polls suggest that majority of Americans supports same sex marriage but only by a slim margin.