The District of Columbia City Council has voted to legalize gay marriage, making the nation’s capital the sixth jurisdiction to allow such unions, and the first below the Mason-Dixon Line.
The council passed the measure by an 11-2 vote, giving same-sex marriage supporters a victory after a trying two months where they saw several states defeat similar legislation.
In November, Maine voted to overturn the state’s previously ratified gay marriage law. In December, the New York State Senate overwhelmingly rejected a same-sex marriage bill only a week after the state’s Supreme Court ruled that gay couples married elsewhere were entitled to government benefits.
Even though D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty has promised to sign-off on the bill, it will not become law until Congress concludes a 30-day review of the legislation later in January.
Opponents of same-sex marriage refused to accept the decision and vowed to spend the next month urging Congress to repeal the law.
"God’s war has just started," said community activist Bob King, quoted by The Washington Post. "Shame on them. We’re going to get to the ballot box through either the courts or the Congress. So tell everyone, don’t let the marriage licenses start flowing."
Cleta Mitchell, attorney for the conservative group Stand4Marrriage, said it plans to ask a district elections board to put a referendum on the ballot asking voters to overturn the law.
She said in a statement before the vote that the law is a "decision for the people, not a dozen people at city hall," quoted by the Associated Press (AP).