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Md. House passes gay marriage bill

Gay marriage passes big hurdle in Md. House; Senate next, which has approved it before By The Associated Press

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) ' The effort to legalize gay marriage has passed a long-standing hurdle in the Maryland House of Delegates.

The House voted 71-67 Friday to give gay couples the right to marry.

After a week of speculation on whether proponents would gather the votes needed, lawmakers debated it Thursday evening.

Several amendments to the bill were rejected. They included creating civil unions and allowing parents to opt out of education programs that address same-sex relationships.

The measure now heads to the state Senate where last year it easily cleared the 47-member body. The governor has said he would sign it.

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