Fallout From The Domestic Partners Ordinance - And Response (13)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The mayor applauded the passing of the insurance policy with this comment,"In the 21st century   economy, we must ensure we attract talented employees and remain competitive with local, regional, and national employers." 

That sounds fine until employees realize that any promises made are subject to removal at any time by the mayor's office or City Council as was done in the insurance policies for retiring city employees. These were promises to employees for decades.  

How attractive can it be when employees realize  promises can dissolve like salt in water and disappear.   

Larry Turner 

* * * 

Please read and/or re-read the article on today's website and examine whether or not you maintain or would like to go back and change your vote for the members of the City Council that we elected.  My personal opinion is just that...however, I would like to clarify that I never felt Carol Berz was "allegedly competent" for the job.  My apologies if she is. 

In favor were council members Chris Anderson, Carol Berz, Moses Freeman, Yusuf Hakeem and Jerry Mitchell. 

Opposed were council members Larry Grohn, Ken Smith, Russell Gilbert and Chip Henderson. 

Reconsidering my next vote, 
Rusty Munger 

* * *

I was shocked to see that this ordinance passed on the first reading. For a community professing to be Christian, with churches throughout the city, to let this happen is an outrage. 

The State of Tennessee does not recognize common law marriage (heterosexuals living together) and it does not recognize same sex marriages. So why would Chattanooga City Council, in the State of Tennessee try to pass an ordinance such as this? 

How do you determine who is really living together as partners? Must you observe coitus? How do you determine when they part, since they aren’t married and there is no divorce decree? Do you do home visits and see if there is any evidence that they live there? 

I am a Christian and am against living together whether it be same sex or opposite sex. I do not want to pay any of my tax money to support the insurance benefits of domestic partners. 

Do we not have other issues in this city that need our tax dollars? What about repairing the roads? What about repairing and maintaining the schools? There is a list of worthy causes. 

Christians need to stand up and contact their councilman or councilwoman, if they voted yes, and tell them how you feel before next Tuesday’s final vote. Chris Anderson, Carol Berz, Moses Freeman, Yusuf Hakeem and Jerry Mitchell all voted for this ordinance. 

Jerry Mitchell is District 2: Email @Mitchell_Jerry@chattanooga.gov, or call 757-5334, or mail 1000 Lindsay St., Chattanooga, TN 37402. 

Chris Anderson District 7: Email @Anderson_c@chattanooga.gov, or call 757-7856, or mail 1000 Lindsay St., Chattanooga, TN 37402. 

Carol Berz District 6: Email @berz_c@chattanooga.gov, or call 757-7852, or mail 1000 Lindsay St., Chattanooga, TN 37402. 

Moses Freeman District 8: Email @freeman_m@chattanooga.gov,or call 757-5364, or mail 1000 Lindsay St., Chattanooga, TN 37402. 

Yusuf Hakeem District 9: Email @hakeem_y@chattanooga.gov, or call 757-5367, or mail 1000 Lindsay St., Chattanooga, TN 37402.
 
Jerry Mitchell is my councilman and he stated the people in his district are for this. Wrong, Jerry Mitchell. I have already sent him an email and I contacted him before the vote too. 

Christians, you cannot sit back and watch any longer. Put actions to your beliefs and tell them no. 

Suzanne E. Keith 

* * * 

I enjoyed high theater and a concert in Chattanooga's City Council chambers Tuesday evening.
The performance opened with a rousing audience participation piece that ended …. “with liberty and justice for all.” 

This was followed by a rather bland hymn pleading Almighty Guidance to implement Divine Will. 

Next up was a trumpet celebration of local police support for the Tennessee National Guard and Reserve.  Attendees warmed to this with universal acclaim.

The program proceeded with a few tedious and mundane numbers, allowing anticipation to build. 

The main event was then announced: A battle of the bands pitting notions of social justice against economic prudence. 

The Justice band’s performance garnered audience appreciation with themes that blended biblical principles of love with the sanctity of civil rights.  The composer’s solo trilled the merits of setting “an example for how we treat our employees,” and this led into a chorus of “the proposal treats all employees and their families as equal to one another, and makes the city of Chattanooga a more competitive employer going forward.” 

Spirited counterpoint was provided by the Prudence group.  

Their members enthusiastically sang that: 

Future medical costs can’t be precisely defined; 

Government shouldn’t reward those who breed out of wedlock, or provide additional benefits to a newly defined group of employees while limiting benefits to others; 

The Justice band was attempting an “end-run” around the Tennessee constitution that defined marriage as between one man and one woman, and; 

The matter was too controversial for elected representatives to decide, hence needed a direct public vote. 

The pieces reached their climax with the bands evenly pitted.... awaiting the Conductor's nod one way or the other. 

Afterwards, the audience showed their good taste with a respectful round of applause, and theater manager Berke expressed his pleasure. 

Matthew Hine
Chattanooga 

* * * 

Interesting letters all. Full of tolerance and numerous turn-the-other-cheekisms.  A few quotes were very well written, especially, "Government shouldn’t reward those who breed out of wedlock..." (tasteful) and, "Christians, you cannot sit back and watch any longer. Put actions to your beliefs..." (lock and load). 

Ms. Keith also asked, "Must you observe coitus?" Really? Sure thing, we can check them and then come by and check you when we're finished.  

Last time I heard, a council person usually tries to act on the majority views of his constituents.  If that happens not to be your personal view, you sometimes don't get your way.  Believe me, by the doofus legislation coming out of Nashville, I know this to be true. 

Herb Montgomery
Chattanooga 

* * * 

Insofar as equality and non-discrimination in hiring are concerned, how can we forget so soon the 2,500 employees at VW who put on an exceptional show for the President when he visited?  From my viewpoint, the primary participants were VW's outstanding black employees who were a credit to this city.  So my question is:  What is this upcoming black bride/groom-to-be trying to accomplish other than get even with her church and safe face at the police department by creating notoriety sufficient to put her in league with the national movements of anti-religion and gay rights advocates by interfering with the laws of this State and this country, feed headlines to the news media, and possibly write a book someday? 

Charlotte Parton 
Chattanooga 

* * * 

The mayor of Chattanooga believes that  the passing of a benefits ordinance for gay couples will somehow bring new talent to the city.  What in the name of common sense does sexual orientation have to do with talent?  Talent  for doing what?  Does he believe that Tennessee's law on marriage somehow keeps talent  away from this State?   

Rather than deal with the financial ramifications of adding a greater tax burden to residents of Chattanooga simply to give recognition for gay marriage, which is forbidden in Tennessee, the mayor has created a "straw man" to knock down.  

Those members of the Council in concert with the mayor have acted in a dictatorial manner, imposing upon this community a morality that violates the ages-old mores of its citizens.  They have consistently demonstrated that five members of the City Council should have the authority the create this new ordinance, resisting all appeals that it be place in open referendum to be decided by the voters of the city.  They may just succeed now, but voters have long memories on issues that matter, and some of the quintet may just have to find another job.  

It's clear they don't have the talent  to lead Chattanooga in a representative manner.

James West 

* * * 

First, I must thank the members of the City's Council for making a stand against the ordinance to allow insurance for "Domestic Partners" gay/adulterous city employees. Yes, you were out numbered but I strongly feel that when this goes to a vote, the battle will be won 

This all goes along with the world of today. Today's humanistic society is removing God from anything it can from CHRISTmas to our children saying the " Pledge of Allegiance." 

By removing God's Word we don't want there to be a right or a wrong. Instead we're seeking  a place where no one loses. Give everyone a trophy. Give 'em all insurance. Homosexuality isn't wrong, you're just old fashioned and Chattanooga needs to get with the times. The color of all this nonsense is gray and it's lukewarm. It's the same crowd outside Noah's Ark pounding on the door that God closed, screaming to be saved. It's the men trying to break down the the door of Lot's house so they can have sex with the two men that were inside.  

But you say, "the cost is very little for this added insurance."  It shouldn't be about the money. The fact of the matter is this, it's wrong in the sight of God. And like the folks who were drowned and burned, Chattanooga too will suffer for this choice. We have a church on just about every street corner and yet Chattanooga's leaders allow this to pass. 

The mayor of course is happy about the vote and says it's only the fair thing to do. When I awakened from passing out from blood shooting out my eyes, I wondered what Emory and Cooley must be thinking about our esteemed leader whom fired them for doing their jobs then slandering them despite being cleared by a judge. (Fair)? 

During the tense and awaited vote for this ordinance, Mr. Hakeem seemed ever so happy to be in that lime light. He sickened me. He even tried to be funny but he looked and acted ridiculous. And naturally his vote was "yes."  

This isn't about hate. It's about being forced to reward peoples wrong behavior and saying it's only the fair thing to do. I'm no man's judge. We all will stand before the perfect judge one day soon.  

It's a free country. Do as you please, but stop telling me it's your right and that I should pay for it. That's not fair.  

Michael Burns 

* * *

It is a poorly thought-out heartless financial “clusterflop.” 

Somehow, the former Chattanooga City Council saw fit to rob the retired city employees of their health insurance due to financial shortfalls, with the current City Council adding insult to injury by offering these same job perks to unmarried partners of current city employees. A few months in and Chris Anderson, Carol Berz, Moses Freeman, Yusuf Hakeem and Jerry Mitchell are drinking from a different Kool-Aid pail. 

I offer to be the first signatory on the petition to bring the Domestic Partners Ordinance to a city-wide vote. The Chattanooga government has welched on former city employees in order to idiotically compensate unmarried partners of city employees or (as transparently suggested by our current mayor) who yet to be employed city workers? It may have been under to tutelage of former Mayor Ron Littlefield that this obscene denial of benefits to city workers occurred, but Mr. Berke, you have a responsibility to make things right in light of your campaign rhetoric to "stop the insanity" of the Littlefield administration.  

Perhaps this referendum should have a caveat forcing the city to reinstate reneged benefits to those who worked 25 years for promised benefits, including reimbursement of two years of past premiums plus interest. 

If I have to pay taxes, taxes should go where they should logically go. 

David D. Fihn 

* * *

I can recall people using similar argument against interracial marriages and relationships back in the day, and biblical scripture was at the center of their arguments just as they are today. The language used then was at times a tad more biase and guttural, but otherwise the same. 

In fact, I can recall one individual in particular who's written to the Chattanoogan and on a few discussion forums not at all long ago having said of a nature that children of mix-raced relationships are all "messed up in the head." And this was a person of authority. 

Yesterday's bigots against interracial relationships and marriages would be so proud of today's  same who discriminate against gays and lesbians. 

Brenda Manghane-Washington 

* * * 

When I go to the grocery store to buy a dozen eggs, I know there should be a dozen and I know about how much I will pay for that dozen eggs. If I go to buy drinks I know I will buy a six pack, 12 or 24 and how much those will cost.  I have not seen any real figures associated with this insurance act. 

Vagaries such as, "Knoxville did it and it did not amount to much money."  "It has been done other places and few responded."  "It shouldn't cost more than 60 something thousand dollars." "It shouldn't cost more than one hundred and seventy thousand dollars." 

You wouldn't hire a city employee and put down "we are going to pay him some type of salary." You would want to know how much that person will cost and how much your budget will allow. 

In this insurance situation we have no idea of the population numbers involved. It appears no survey has been done. This whole thing is a disaster waiting to happen ....and the taxpayers have to pay for the stupidity. What can you be thinking?   

If I were a city employee and made $60,000 and told personnel I wanted $80,000, could I get a response "...in loving kindness we should give him what he wants." No.  They would tell me to take a hike. Yet they want to open up your purse and say we, meaning the taxpayer, will take on whatever amount is involved.  And again it was too much money to do the right thing and leave insurance coverage for employees that "earned" that right.  

Larry Turner 

* * * 

So, let me get this straight. As a "Christian" community (and I use that term very loosely since I am not seeing much Christ-like behavior on here), we should let biblical theory determine equality under the law? Ok, I'm game. Which bible are we using? And which denominations get to decide what's biblical?  Even better, which "sinners" aren't entitled to equality? 

Let's start with "those gays." Obviously they don't deserve it. I think we should cut out those who are divorced or remarried as well. How about those who commit adultery? (That doesn't bode well for some of Tennessee's elected representatives - specifically a couple who like to post on here).  And those sinners who use birth control or consume alcohol are unworthy as well. My grandparents believed it was sinful for a woman to wear jeans, or nail polish, so all you harlots out there in your Levi's getting manicures every week don't deserve it either. Let's round out the list with liars and cheaters, because we all know what the bible says about those people. 

Sound ridiculous? That's because it is. This isn't about moral code or character, because I know plenty of homosexual people who have more character and morals than some of the heterosexual people in this town.  If you want to determine equality based on some religious belief, then at least use the whole scripture and quit picking and choosing your verses. 

Equality is just that. Equality. For everyone. It has nothing to do with my religious beliefs, or my neighbors, or the guy who delivers my pizza. And it shouldn't. If you want to keep the government out of your church, keep your church out of my government. 

D.J. Locke

* * * 

Being life long residents of Chattanooga it is not easy to say but, we are truly ashamed of our city and its leaders. We wish that Chris Anderson had been open with the residents before the election instead of becoming open after being sworn in as councilman. 

The same sex benefits is not fair to city taxpayers.  By supporting the benefits you are surely going against the teachings of the Bible and approving illegal marriages. Why should we have to fund giving benefits to anyone who would not be eligible under federal guidelines. 

We can't express just how disgusted we are with our new leadership considering it has only been six months. 

Jeff Webb

* * * 

On Oct. 22, I attended a city council meeting. Allegations of hate and denial of rights were leveled against anyone not favoring domestic partner benefits for city employees.  It broke my heart. I didn’t think it was fair to equate respect for God’s law with hate. 

If my heart hurt, what about the heart of God? So I prayed.  In a moment of brokenness and humility, I realized I had to give up my “right” to be right--just as He had given up His rights when He died for me. Then, and only then, could I know true peace and be able to love as He loves.  My storm ceased.  As always, He had majestically swept past the issue at hand and gone to the war that really mattered--the condition of my heart.  The peace that followed was incredible--the kind that makes it possible to genuinely pray for those with whom you disagree. 

The only way to win is to surrender to a love that conquers every foe that would pit us against one another and foment hate and minimize the incredible sacrifice of God in Christ dying for all our sins. 

Marcia Swearingen
Hixson


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