Opponents of a plan that would extended benefits to the domestic partners of gay and lesbian employees of the city of El Paso, Texas showed up at City Hall Tuesday to fight the plan, the El Paso Times reported.

In a 6 to 1 vote Thursday, city leaders added the plan to the city's budget.

During Tuesday's City Council meeting, about a dozen citizens came forward to condemn the city's actions during the public comments portion of the meeting.

Most who spoke said they objected to the plan based on religious grounds.

“If our government starts passing laws that are against guidelines in the Bible, it starts to contaminate the spiritual water of our people … What does God say about homosexuality? He says it is an abomination,” said Barney Field, servant of El Paso for Jesus.

Activist Lisa Turner responded to the protesters: “These are the people that are preaching hate. You tell me where in the Bible does it say to preach hate? Forty years ago they were using the same arguments against Black people.”

Due to city rules, council members are not allowed to respond to public comments. That did not stop several lawmakers who decided to take the debate outside.

Outside City Hall, Representative Beto O'Rourke explained his backing on the issue to about 40 angry people. “I think it is incredibly unfair to deny people – who are born gay and have entered committed relationships that have spanned years and who are hard-working city employees – benefits, given their effort to make this a better city.”

But the crowd was not allayed and demanded the council put the issue to a vote.

“You are a representative of the people, but you are voting based on your heart, not on the will of the people,” one person said.

“You made the decision on this controversial issue before an election year. Why didn't you vote on this during an election year?” another person asked.

Last month, the city was thrust into the national gay rights debate when two men refused security guards' request to leave a Mexican fast-food restaurant because they were kissing. The men sought help from the police, who backed the guards, saying the men could be cited for their unlawful behavior. The police department attempted to pass off the threat of citation as a rookie mistake, and not discriminatory in nature.