Approximately 250 people gathered at First United Methodist Church Monday night to support proposed protections for gay and transgender residents.
A public hearing on the matter is scheduled for Tuesday, and the event's attendees provided a vocal precursor to one side of the public debate expected to unfold at City Hall.
"It is a step in the right direction," the Rev. Jane Florence of First United Methodist said of the proposal. "At least it sends the message that it's wrong to discriminate against people."
Debate over the issue has exposed rifts in the city's business and religious communities. While several congregations have expressed support for proposed protections of gay and transgender residents, many others and some Christian-oriented policy groups condemn it.
A vote on the matter is scheduled for next week.