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Mr. Jackson unsuccessfully challenged the ruling in D.C. Superior Court, but he said he plans to seek a referendum that would put the same-sex marriage bill before city voters after the legislation is sent to Congress.

If the bill becomes law, the District will join Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa and Vermont in permitting same-sex marriages. New Hampshire will begin allowing them in January.

Same-sex marriage was imposed by a state court ruling last year in California, but the practice was later struck down by a voter referendum.

“What we saw in California was devastating,” said council member Tommy Wells, Ward 6 Democrat. “Here in D.C. this issue belongs to all of us. The fight will continue, and we will have to be vigilant.”

The Catholic Church has argued that legalizing gay marriage would open it to legal liability because the church will not extend benefits to same-sex married couples employed by Catholic schools.

The church also has said the bill would force it to offer social services, such as adoption services, to same-sex couples, contrary to the Catholic faith.

“The archdiocese advocated for a bill that would balance the council’s interest in redefining marriage with the need to protect religious freedom. Regrettably, the bill did not strike that balance,” the Archdiocese of Washington said in a statement.

The bill was not amended to address the church’s concerns, but Mr. Mendelson said it had a lot of support within the faith community.