The law, passed by the legislature and signed by Gov. Robert Ehrlich Jr., states the Baltimore-Washington International Airport will become the Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, the Washington Post reported.
A three-member state panel is expected to give final approval to the change later in the year.
The airport's locator code, BWI, will remain unchanged, but the name switch is expected to cost the state $2.1 million, mostly for changing signs in and around the airport.
The legislation, sponsored by Del. Emmett Burns (D-Baltimore County), is aimed at honoring the nation's first black Supreme Court justice.
"Our purpose is to honor a great man . . . who did the most to end legal segregation in America," Burns said during a ceremony attended by civil rights leaders and hundreds of supporters in Annapolis.