The Washington D.C. Council gave its final approval to recognize legal gay marriages performed in other states and countries Tuesday, reports the AP.

Former Mayor Marion Barry stood alone in opposing the bill, which passed on a vote 12 to 1.

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, a Democrat, has said he will sign the bill into law.

Under Home Rule any laws passed by the District are subject to a 30-day review period by the U.S. Congress.

Despite his opposing vote, Barry called himself a “friend” to the gay community.

“It has been a very agonizing and difficult decision,” Barry said. “I feel comfortable with this position because I know where my heart is … I am representing my constituents. I have thought about it a lot and I have been a friend of [the gay] community and will continue to be a friend of this community.”

The bill recognizes out-of-state marriages performed in states that recognize gay marriage. Backers say it is the first step towards legalizing gay marriage in the District.

“This is the march towards human rights and equality,” openly gay Councilperson David A. Catania (Independent at large) told city leaders last month. “It is not the march towards special rights ... and that march is coming here.”

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.