Leaders in San Antonio, Texas approved a law yesterday providing nondiscrimination protections against gay and transgender residents.

The vote passed 8-3 in the council for San Antonio to join nearly 180 other US cities that prohibit biases against sexual orientation and gender identity.

Democratic Mayor Julian Castro had called the ordinance “overdue” in the nation’s seventh-largest city, and declared the law’s passing as a victory.

Mr Castro said: “This ordinance is about saying there are no second-class citizens in San Antonio.”

Supporters in red shirts and opponents in blue sat on opposite sides of the ornate council chamber. Church leaders vowed petitions to recall council members, and the shouts of anti-gay protesters outside City Hall could often be heard.

Dee Villarubia, 67, said she’s a former Air Force officer whose landlord at a San Antonio apartment evicted her two years ago because she is gay.

She said: “When I say the pledge of allegiance, I say ‘justice for some’ because there’s an asterisk that means not me.”

“Today, I would take that asterisk away and finally say ‘justice for all.’”

San Antonio has a notoriously anti-gay current compared to other Texas cities, most of which already have similar gay rights protections.

Last month, Sophia Young, who is a forward for Silver Stars basketball team, tweeted her views against the bill with a message that read: “Should San Antonio be a city that allows same sex marriage?? I vote NO.”