SAN ANTONIO (AP) -

Gay rights advocates and religious conservatives are expected to pack a San Antonio City Council meeting for a vote on a nondiscrimination proposal that's drawing rebuke from big-name Republicans.

If approved Thursday, San Antonio would join other major Texas cities with ordinances that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The Human Rights Campaign says nearly 180 other U.S. cities also have similar protections.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott are among the GOP heavyweights opposing the proposal. Abbott says the ordinance would trample on religious freedoms and invite lawsuits.

San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro says the ordinance is level-headed and overdue. Castro was the keynote speaker at last year's Democratic National Convention and says the backlash doesn't reflect the city's values.