The Phoenix City Council has approved a proposal to expand the city's anti-discrimination law to include protections for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people in city contracts, housing, employment and public accommodations such as restaurants.
The ordinance was passed 5 to 3.
The city currently prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, genetic information and marital status.
More than a hundred people spoke about the issue at a council hearing that lasted more than four hours and stretched into Tuesday night. The testimony was emotional -- thousands packed the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Phoenix.
The proposal drew obvious support from members of the LGBT community who have felt discrimination, and opposition from social conservatives and religious groups.
Mayor Greg Stanton said the changes would help Phoenix compete with more than 160 U.S. cities that already have enacted similar provisions.
"We want to make sure that we send a message that we value every single person in our city, it's really important to our economy," said Mayor Stanton.
Councilman Sal DiCiccio voted against the measure out of concern the decision was too rushed.
"There were groups that were purposely kept out of this discussion and it was done, very few members, including me, knew little about it," he said.
The ordinance will go into effect in 30 days.
Video: FOX 10's Anita Roman reports about the controversy surrounding this proposal, dubbed the "Bathroom Bill" by some.
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