The Washington, DC, City Council voted today to legalize gay marriage in the nation's capital, handing supporters a victory after recent defeats in Maine, New York, and New Jersey. Mayor Adrian Fenty has promised to sign the bill, which passed 11-2, and gay couples could begin marrying as early as March. Congress, which has final say over Washington's laws, could reject it, but Democratic leaders have suggested they are reluctant to do so.
The bill had overwhelming support among council members and was expected to pass, though opponents have vowed to try to get Congress or voters to overturn it. David Catania, who introduced the bill and is one of two openly gay council members, called the bill a "matter of social justice" before the vote. Two members voted "I do" when their names came up, and when the vote finished a packed chamber erupted into cheers and clapping. The "no" votes included former mayor Marion Barry, now a council member.