Congress could be next to decide on the issue of legalizing gay marriage.
The city council in Washington D.C. voted Tuesday to recognize same-sex marriage, putting the issue one step closer to a vote at the U.S. Capitol.
In Washington, Congress has the final say over laws which means lawmakers could be forced to take up the debate that's been dividing states for years.
For more on the gay marriage debate unfolding in several states, click play to watch CBN News Sr. Washington Correspondent Paul Strand's report.
The D.C. Council's unanimous vote came just as Vermont voted to legalize gay marriage-- behind Connecticut, Massachusetts and Iowa.
Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council says his group will consider challenging the D.C. vote. The Christian organization has been a strong voice for upholding traditional marriage.
"I'm concerned that every step closer to same-sex marriage that does not meet resistance makes it easier for some people to accept same-sex marriage down the road," he said.
Even though D.C.'s situation is unique, supporters say the decision should be treated like it would in any other state.
"The district is equivalent to a small state, and the only difference is Congress' ability to interfere with local decisions," said David Smith, vice president of the Washington-based Human Rights Campaign. "We would treat it as any other state and move to defend the decision of the legislature or the courts."
Tuesday's vote was preliminary, but a final council vote will take place next month.
If the approval remains, the legislation would then send the bill for congressional review, which could lead to a final vote in Congress.
Source: The Associated Press
*Originally aired April 9, 2009