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Maryland Senate set to move gay marriage bill to House

ANNAPOLIS — Maryland senators are set to approve gay marriage after modifying the marriage bill to include more protections for religious groups.

Senators voted 25-22 Wednesday to advance the bill to a final vote. They added protections for religious institutions and groups — such as the Catholic service group the Knights of Columbus — that would keep them from having to provide gay weddings with catering, space and other services.

After the Senate, the House will consider the bill. Gov. Martin O’Malley has said he would sign the measure if it reaches his desk.

If approved, Maryland would become the seventh state to legalize gay marriage. Hawaii’s governor signed same-sex civil unions into law on Wednesday.

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