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Maryland House passes gay marriage bill

BY SARAH BREITENBACH, ASSOCIATED PRESS

ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Maryland appears ready to become one of a handful of states in the U.S. to legalize gay marriage after the bill to allow it passed a long-standing hurdle in the Maryland House of Delegates on Friday.

After courting the votes of a couple delegates initially opposed to the measure, House members voted 72-67 to pass the bill. An initial vote count suggested the measure passed with 71 votes, leaving out an affirmative from Delegate John Bohanan.

Next up is the Senate, which handily passed a similar bill last year. Gov. Martin O'Malley sponsored the bill and has pushed for gay marriage to be legalized. Approval would make Maryland the eighth state plus the District of Columbia to legalize the marriages, although opponents have vowed to petition the measure to referendum.

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