via Reuters:

Maryland’s governor plans to sign a bill making same-sex marriage legal later this week, his office said on Monday, while opponents were making plans to challenge the new law at the ballot box. The legislation, making Maryland the eighth state in the nation to legalize gay and lesbian nuptials, heads to Governor Martin O’Malley’s desk for his signature at a ceremony at 5 p.m. on Thursday, his office said.

Potential ballot referendum or not, this is a major step forward. Thursday is my birthday, and I can’t think of a sweeter present than marriage equality for same-sex couples in Maryland.