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PLANO (CBSDFW.COM) – Religious and community leaders drew a crowd of more than 100 people as they called for an end to Plano’s Equal Rights Ordinance.

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Last month the city council voted to add sexual orientation and gender status to Plano’s protected characteristics. Since then a growing movement to repeal the ordinance has been lobbying against it.

It was standing room only when leaders of the anti-ordinance coalition called on supporters to help gather signatures and force a vote to get rid of the equal rights law.

“This ordinance needs to be repealed. If it’s not repealed, then we’ll go to the courts, and we’ll spend and cause the city to incur tens of thousands of dollars,” said Jeff Mateer of the Liberty Institute.

The new ordinance extends to gays, lesbians, and transgender people the same legal protection that shields other minorities from discrimination.

“The city council took the step of outlawing certain religious expression in the workplace. This was wrong, and this was abuse of government power,” said Matt Shaheen who was recently elected to represent Texas House District 66 which covers western Plano.

Dave Routzahn has already signed the petition, and he hopes the group can gather the nearly 4000 signatures needed, but he says that’s just the beginning.

“My ultimate hope is that the five people that voted for it including the mayor are ousted at the next election, and they put good Christian people in there that understand the effect of all this,” Routzahn said.

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Not everyone in the crowd agreed with the speakers. Joe Riggs says as a gay man living in Plano, the position of the group concerns him.

“I think it sends the wrong message to people. There’s room for everyone in Plano, and there’s no reason to discriminate on people based on their sexual orientation, their gender, or any other reason,” Riggs said.

In response to the news conference, Plano’s mayor told reporters at City Hall that the time to debate the ordinance is over.

“A city of excellence reflects the rights of everyone and discriminates against no one. The ordinance is fair. It’s legal, and it’s constitutional,” Mayor Harry Larosiliere said.

City leaders are urging anyone interested in the subject to go to plano.gov/ero to read what the ordinance actually does. Opponents have until January 20 to gather the necessary signatures.

(©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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