The District of Columbia's City Council has approved a bill that would make it easier for gay and lesbian couples to divorce in the municipality, the AP reported.

The bill, introduced in October by D.C. Council member Phil Mendelson, would allow an out-of-state gay couple married in the District to divorce there without one or both members becoming residents of the District.

Under the District's current law, approved in 2009, out-of-state gay couples are welcome to marry in the city. However, divorcing in a state that does not recognize such unions can be complicated. Currently, only residents can dissolve their D.C. marriage through the District's courts. That is, at least one person of the divorcing couple would need to live in the city for six months before filing for a divorce.

The new bill gives out-of-state gay couples access to the District's courts, provided their home state does not recognize their divorce.

“In order to maintain basic dignity for couples married in the District, and unable to divorce in their home state, this bill is necessary,” gay activist Bob Summersgill testified at a December hearing.

“If we offer civil marriage, we must offer civil divorce.”