PHOENIX - The Phoenix City Council approved a proposal Tuesday 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, the nation's sixth-largest, currently prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, genetic information and marital status.

Mayor Greg Stanton said the "long overdue" changes would help Phoenix compete with more than 160 U.S. cities that already have enacted similar provisions. "The more we embrace diversity, the better Phoenix will be for business, tourism, high-wage jobs and our future economy," Stanton said.

He said approval of the proposal would mean an employer could not fire someone for being gay, and a hotel could not turn away a same-sex couple.

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