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PHOENIX -- 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 city currently prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, genetic information and marital status.

More than 50 people spoke about the issue at a council hearing that lasted more than four hours and stretched from Tuesday afternoon into the night.

Mayor Greg Stanton says the changes would help Phoenix compete with more than 160 U.S. cities that already have enacted similar provisions.

The proposal drew opposition from social conservatives and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix. The diocese contends the proposal is too broadly worded and could trample on religious liberties.

Councilman Sal DiCiccio said the vote should've been postponed ``until it gets a proper vetting.''

Associated Press,

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