As the gay marriage bill moves to the Maryland Senate this week, it’s gaining some supporters you might not expect. Like, oh, say former vice president Dick Cheney.

The marriage equality bill squeaked by the state House of Delegates last week with a 72-67 tally — just one vote above the minimum needed for passage. Baltimore County delegate Wade Kach, a last-minute supporter, was one of two Republicans who helped push the bill forward. (The other was Robert Costa of Anne Arundel County.) He said he made up his mind after seeing happy, supportive same-sex couples… and after getting a phone call from Cheney, whose daughter is a lesbian and who has come to be a prominent supporter of gay marriage.

Kach issued a statement saying that “While no one event or conversation prompted me to come to this decision, I was significantly moved by the testimony of families — who are raising children in a loving environment and deserve every right to enjoy the same protections and responsibilities that our laws provide for others.”

As we noted yesterday, now Maryland is one step closer to being the eighth state to approve same-sex marriage. The next hurdle:  the Senate vote, which is expected to take place this week. Last year, the chamber passed a similar measure, so there’s a cautious — but exuberant — hopefulness in many homes this week.

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