Gay marriage foes in the District of Columbia want to undo a law approved this month by city council leaders that recognizes legal gay marriages performed in other states and countries, the Washington Times reported.

The Stand 4 Marriage D.C. Coalition, a group of mostly black ministers led by Bishop Harry Jackson of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, announced they would seek a referendum that repeals the measure.

“It's a declaration of war,” Bishop Jackson said Wednesday. “We are sending a clear message this is going to be fought every step of the way.”

Jackson said Tuesday's decision by the California Supreme Court upholding the constitutionality of a gay marriage ban had encouraged the group to act.

Some council members have said the legislation is the first step towards legalizing gay marriage in the nation's capital.

Before gay marriage opponents can begin collecting the 21,000 signatures required, a three member board will need to approve their application. Gay activists say that's unlikely to happen because under D.C. election law bills cannot be placed on the ballot that violate the Human Rights Act.

“The D.C. government cannot discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, and for them to recognize marriages of straight couple and not to recognize marriage of gay couples would be a clear violation of the Human Rights Act,” Mark Levine, a lawyer and gay rights activist, told the paper.

If the board approves the application, opponents face the daunting task of collecting valid signatures from at least 5 percent of the registered voters in at least five of the city's eight wards.

The group's actions follow on the heels of another challenge to the law.

Last week, Ohio Representative Jim Jordan introduced a bill that would define marriage as a union between a man and a woman in the District of Columbia.

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

Jordan, a Republican, told The Associated Press that more than 30 mostly Republican lawmakers have signed on as co-sponsors, including Republican House members Paul C. Broun of Georgia and Jason Chaffetz of Utah.