2012 has already been a memorable year for marriage equality advocates.

Today, Maryland became the eighth state to allow same-sex marriages, after the state's Gov. Martin O'Malley signed a marriage equality bill into law late this afternoon.

Six states, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont, plus Washington, D.C., allow same-sex marriage rights while Maryland and Washington state may see a referendum put to voters during the November elections to decide the fate of same-sex unions.

[Breaking] Maryland’s Gov. signs marriage equality into law

Marriage supporters praised Gov. O’Malley after today’s signing.

“It’s a great day for equality in Maryland. The state is indeed stronger today with marriage equality for same-sex couples and their families,” Lambda Legal Executive Director Kevin Cathcart said in a statement released this afternoon.

“This past month has been a momentous one for the LGBT community. From coast to coast—in Washington, New Jersey and Maryland— many elected officials are standing up for equality, and old-fashioned American values of fairness and common sense again have carried the day. People all across the country understand that marriage protects families, and that separate and unequal are not the American way,” Cathcart added.

Late last month, the Defense of Marriage Act, a 1996 law that forbids the federal government from recnognizing same-sex unions, was found unconstitutional by a federal court in California.