Maryland Senate Approves Gay Marriage Rights
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: February 24, 2011
Filed at 6:44 p.m. EST
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — The Maryland Senate has approved legislation to grant same-sex couples full marriage rights.
The vote was 25-21 Thursday. The bill now heads to the House of Delegates for approval and must be signed by Democratic Gov.Martin O'Malley.
Before it passed, the Senate amended the bill 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. Senate 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.