A law that recognizes legal gay marriages performed in other states and countries has gone into effect in the District of Columbia.

The law was signed by D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty in May, but because laws passed by the District are subject to a 30-day review period by Congress the law was delayed.

In a tenuous nod to gay marriage, Congress allowed the review period to expire without taking action.

Council leaders openly acknowledge their next move is to legalize gay marriage in the city, perhaps as early as this fall. The legislation is being fought by a group of black ministers led by Bishop Harry Jackson, who ministers at the Hope Christian Church in Beltsville.

Click here for a complete story background on the fight for gay marriage in D.C.

The new law recognizes the marriages of gay men and lesbians performed in states and countries where it is legal, including the 18,000 marriages performed in California during the May-to-November 2008 window when it was legal.

Gay marriage is legal in six mostly New England states: Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire.