A single personal story crystallized the support of Beidle, an Anne Arundel County Democrat. The 60-year-old businesswoman said she was torn last year on the vote. But on Thursday a gay constituent who was meeting with the delegate as part of a group pushing a different topic pulled Beidle aside.
"They were asked for a marriage certificate, and they couldn't possibly produce it," Beidle said.
That day, the lawmaker, who rarely speaks on the floor, stood up during the Democratic caucus meeting and told the story.
After a week of shocks, emotions and drama, a Democrat from Southern Maryland provided a final jolt.
Bohanan had made it clear to everyone who would listen. The governor. The speaker. His vote was no.
On Thursday night, the lawmaker sat with Del. Heather R. Mizeur on a couch off the House floor. They were locked in an intense discussion that was interrupted when the chamber's bells rang to call members for a vote on an amendment.
Bohanan said it was the first real discussion he'd had about the issue with the lawmaker.
"I thought what made sense was going straight to referendum," Bohanan said. "Let the people of Maryland decide."
But Bohanan said one factor in his decision was that "it became clear" that the bill would be sent to the people. "It is essentially the same thing," he said. "The people of Maryland will get a say in this."
Bohanan made his final decision Thursday night. He went home and drafted a note to the speaker, explaining that he planned to change his vote. It made him number 71.
"I hadn't had any crazy dreams," he said. "I still felt good about the decision." At 6 a.m. Friday, Bohanan sent a text message to the speaker, informing him of the decision.
But the speaker only saw the note about 3:30 p.m., after he had worked throughout the day to nail down votes.
A few hours later, O'Malley's Civil Marriage Protection Act passed in the Maryland House of Delegates by 72 votes to 67.