The California Assembly approved a resolution Thursday urging Congress to repeal “Don't Ask, Don't Tell,” the 1993 law that bans gay troops from serving openly.

Senate Joint Resolution 9, introduced by Senator Christine Kehoe, a San Diego Democrat, was approved on a 51-to-17 bipartisan vote.

Republican Assemblymen Anthony Adams and Nathan Fletcher, a Marine Corps veteran, were among the measure's supporters.

“I believe that any American who has these core values – honor, courage and commitment – and who is willing to give their life for their country should be allowed to serve openly and honorably,” Fletcher said on the Assembly floor.

California Equality, the state's largest gay rights advocate, congratulated legislators for approving the resolution, and joined in urging Congress to repeal the law.

“We are proud of our state's leadership for championing fairness and equality in the military,” said Geoff Kors, executive director of EQCA. “Those who are dedicated to serving our country should be free to do so regardless of their sexual orientation. The time to repeal this outdated, discriminatory policy is long overdue, and we urge Congress and President Obama to act immediately.”

“Overturning this shameful policy will help ensure that gay and lesbian Americans will be afforded the same opportunities as any other American who wants to serve our country,” said Senator Kehoe, the resolution's sponsor.

The lawmakers' actions come as Congress prepares to consider whether to include repeal language in next year's defense budget. With the president's backing, the Pentagon has urged lawmakers to hold off on repeal this year.

The resolution now heads to the state Senate for a concurrence vote.