The City Council on Tuesday night gave final approval to benefits for domestic partners by 5-3.
In favor were Chris Anderson, Yusuf Hakeem, Carol Berz, Moses Freeman and Jerry Mitchell.
Opposed were Russell Gilbert, Ken Smith and Chip Henderson. Larry Grohn was absent.
The Election Commission was set to meet Wednesday at 8 a.m. to hear from a group that plans to start a petition drive seeking to get a referendum on the issue.
Mark West, petition drive leader, said he was advised that some 4,500 names need to be collected in a two-week period. He called that "very achievable."
Prior to the vote on second reading, the council took up the issue of whether Councilman Anderson, the main sponsor of the measure, should recuse himself. Chairman Hakeem noted that two complaints were filed on the issue.
No one on the council objected.
Councilman Freeman said of the complaints, "There was no purpose at all but to slander." He termed Councilman Anderson "a great colleague who is dedicated to this city."
Chairman Hakeem said Councilman Anderson has stated he will not stand to benefit from the new benefits.