City leaders in Tampa, Florida have decided in favor of outlawing transgender discrimination.

The City Council approved the measure that bans discrimination based on gender identity and expression in the areas of employment, housing and public accommodations with a 5-1 vote.

District 6 Council member Charlie Miranda altered his previous yes vote during a November 19 second reading of the bill. Miranda was not available for comment.

Gay groups Pride Tampa Bay, Equality Florida and Organizations United Together (OUT) rallied in favor of the legislation.

“In 38 states it's legal to fire otherwise qualified employees because of their gender identity or expression,” R. Zeke Fread, director of Pride Tampa Bay, said in an email.

“By adding gender identity and expression [to the list of protected classes] our council members are sending a clear and strong message that discrimination in the workplace, accommodations and housing is not acceptable in our city,” he added.

Fread called passage an “important victory for our transgender brothers, sisters and our community.”

In an email alert by the conservative group Christian Issues Council, the group called the ordinance an “assault on Christian values” and urged members to oppose the bill.

“Please stop this assault on Christian values!” Terry Kemple said in the alert. “If the City Council hears a loud voice from the Church, they'll think twice and we may actually defeat this proposal. If they don't hear from us, be ready to lose a few more of the religious freedoms our country was established to protect.”

The group says it opposes the legislation because “people who dress like the opposite sex will be allowed into the restroom of the gender they feel like today” and “special privileges will be granted because of a person's aberrant sexual behavior.”

Fread, however, said proponents of the legislation greatly outnumbered opponents during Thursday's meeting.

“There were so many people lined-up to speak, the council had to extend the allotted time to accommodate all the people waiting to address the council by an extra hour,” he said.