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Same-Sex Marriage Bill Passed In Maryland Senate

The Maryland Senate passed the bill 25-21 Thursday. The bill now heads to the House of Delegates.

The measure, if passed by the House and signed by Gov. Martin O'Malley, was amended to include protections for religious groups and institutions to keep them from being forced to participate in gay weddings. But the bill would grant the same title and rights to same-sex couples that Maryland allows married straight couples.

If the measure becomes law, Maryland would become the sixth state to approve gay marriages. Sen. President Thomas V. Mike Miller said this month he felt the push toward more rights for gay men and women is part of a national trend.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)