Proposition 5, which would expand the anti-discrimination laws in Anchorage, Alaska, to include sexual orientation and gender identity appears to have failed to gather enough votes to pass.

Reports from the US suggest that 58 percent of voters opposed the move to introduce such protections for gay and transgender people.

However, high turnout meant some polling stations had run out of ballot papers prompting confusion over those votes cast on “questioned” ballots.

Over 90 percent of votes were, however, believed to have been cast in Anchorage last night with the city appearing to vote against gay and transgender discrimination protections.

Trevor Storrs of the One Anchorage campaign, which lobbied in favour of the measure, told the Anchorage Daily News last night it would be too early to judge the result decisively.

He said: “We have complete faith in the electoral process, and the clerk’s office needs to be the one to evaluate the situation.”

The proposition would have provided exemptions for religious groups, though that has not prevented strongly-worded opposition to it.

The Anchorage Assembly had approved a similar ordinance in 2009, but it was vetoed by Mayor Dan Sullivan.

Videos used in the campaign claiming Anchorage is already a tolerant city have drawn strong criticism for their treatment of transgender issues. One, entitled Daycare, shows a centre being forced to employ a ‘transvestite’ unshaven man in a pink dress and was called “offensive, stigmatizing and distorted”.