The Washington D.C. Council has approved a measure to recognize legal gay marriages performed in other states and countries, reports the Washington Times.

“This is the march towards human rights and equality,” Council member David A. Catania told city leaders. “It is not the march towards special rights ... and that march is coming here.”

“It is both significant and appropriate that America's capital city has taken a giant step forward in recognizing our nation's promise of 'liberty and justice for all.'” Steve Ralls, director of communications at Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), told On Top Magazine.

Council members voted unanimously 12-0 in favor of recognition of legal gay marriages performed elsewhere. The move is widely viewed as a step towards the legalization of gay marriage in the district.

Gay marriage is legal in seven mostly European countries – Canada, South Africa, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Spain and Belgium – and in four mostly New England U.S. states – Massachusetts, Vermont, Iowa and Connecticut.