ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WUSA) -- A same sex marriage bill cleared a big hurdle in Maryland's legislature Wednesday, leaving opponents talking about a voter referendum to undo what they fear may already be a done deal.
State senators voted 25-22 to advance the measure to a final vote, which could come as soon as Thursday.
In the process, lawmakers added further protections for religious groups to exempt them from having to provide educational services or insurance coverage for gay couples. They also changed the official name of the bill -- stripping the words "Religious Freedom" from the title -- to make it the "Civil Marriage Protection Act."
Supporters of the bill defeated numerous proposals from opponents that would have allowed court clerks to refuse to marry gay couples, kept schools from "promoting same-sex marriage" and renamed the bill "Same-Sex Marriage."