(WASHINGTON TIMES) — Liberals won a long-fought victory in Maryland, passing a bill Thursday that would make the state the eighth in the nation to approve gay marriage, while across the Potomac River, Republicans backpedaled for the second time in a week on major abortion-related legislation.

In Richmond, six Republicans joined 18 Democrats in killing a “personhood” measure in the Virginia Senate that would define life as beginning at conception. In Annapolis, the Democrat-controlled Senate on a 25-22 vote sent a gay-marriage bill to Gov. Martin O’Malley, who spearheaded the effort.

”I think the legislative process has worked well in this case, and I think it’s been a very open process,” Mr. O’Malley said. “I look forward to signing the bill.”

The issues are emblematic of passionate debates across the country, where statehouse lawmakers have been embroiled in social issues this year.

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