Nashville's plan to extend the city's gay protections to contractors has received its second OK, The Tennessean reported.

In 2009, Nashville Mayor Karl Dean signed into law a bill that bans employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity by the Metro government. Metro Nashville is the governing body of the City of Nashville and Davidson County. The pair merged in 1963.

The Metro Council is now considering requiring companies that do business with the city to adopt a similar nondiscrimination policy.

With a 21 to 16 vote, the proposed measure received its second okay last Tuesday. A third and final vote is expected in March.

“We want to communicate that we're for equality,” said Councilwoman Erica Gilmore, a sponsor of the bill. “We want to make sure we're always basing things on performance and talent.”

Councilman Jim Hodge suggested the protections would amount to an endorsement of being gay: “Jesus said it. Love your neighbor. He didn't say endorse their lifestyle.”

The bill's primary sponsor, Councilman Mike Jameson, took on his critics.

“To hear one of my colleagues tonight argue that it's only a small percentage of people that are gay or lesbian, and to suggest that because the minority is such a minority, they don't deserve protections, flies in the face of what the spirit of this legislation should be,” Jameson said.

Dean said two weeks ago that he would sign the bill if approved by lawmakers because it “makes sense.”