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Vote would recognize non-D.C. gay nuptials

WASHINGTON, April 8 (UPI) -- The District of Columbia Council initially voted to recognize gay marriages performed elsewhere, joining a number of states easing restrictions on the unions.

The District's preliminary vote was Tuesday, the same day Vermont became the fourth state to recognize same-sex marriages and a week after the Iowa Supreme Court legalized such unions, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.

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D.C. lawmakers said they expect a final vote on the issue May 5. Domestic partnerships are legal in Washington but Tuesday's vote recognizes weddings of gay couples married in U.S. states.

Observers said Tuesday's vote was the first salvo in what is expected to be a battle for the city's gay marriage bill, expected to be introduced soon and would pit the city against opponents in Congress, which has the final say in the District's legislative matters, the Post said.

D.C. Council Member Jim Graham told the Post "the writing is on the wall" that the city will approve gay marriage.

"We are now taking the issue directly to Congress, and no one else can do that," said Graham, who is gay.

Opponents said the vote was political maneuvering, noting the measure was an amendment to another bill.

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"What they have done seemed to be a little bit of a Trojan horse," Peter Sprigg, a fellow for policy studies at the Family Research Council, a national conservative group against gay marriage, said to the Post.

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