City Required To Secure Public Welfare, Not Private Benefit Of The Gay - And Response

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 - by David Tulis

In the next two weeks members of Chattanooga City Council will be deciding whether to afford medical and other benefits to homosexuals and sexual partners of unmarried men and women staffers who have cohabited for at least a year.

City Council heard many arguments for and against at a meeting Tuesday in a first reading of the proposal. Scheduled is a second reading Nov. 12 and a final reading and vote Nov. 19.

In determining whether benefits should be awarded to employees’ sexual intimates outside the covenant of marriage, we should take a moment to look at the debate from a public welfare perspective.

The city is obliged to think entirely and wholly of the public interest, according to its charter. “[C]ities operate under their charters for the public good alone,” according to an 1875 Tennessee case whose authority is still quoted today [italics added]. The gay position seeks to incorporate this premise. It says gay benefits will increase the appeal of city jobs, and bring better people into them. It’s true that a city offering gay benefits will bring more homosexual applicants. But being gay is something quite apart from being qualified to work for a municipal entity. A man is not necessarily a better employee because his bedroom partner has whiskers and wears Haggar slacks.
Councilmen should ask themselves: Is rewarding benefits to gays a form of private inurement? Inurement is a benefit. Is adding a gay benefits public — or private?

The concept of public benefit

The city charter it obtained from the general assembly gives care for public safety in numerous ways.

The city is a corporation designed to have “perpetual existence” is free to act as a person (for example, able to sue and be sued) and to act “for the establishment of a hospital, poor house, workhouse or house of correction; and may sell, lease or dispose of said property for the benefit of the city” (sec. 1.1). The reference to poor house harkens back to the time before the welfare state when needy people got no electronic subsidy from Uncle Sam, but a time in which charity was local and personal, and poor people had to work for their keep in the poor house.

Many other rules also promote public welfare. No felon may hold office unless he has voting and other rights restored (sec 8.53).

The council has authority “to pass for the government of the city any ordinance not in conflict with the Constitution of the United States or the Constitution of the State of Tennessee or the statutes thereof” (sec. 11.1). The city has power to build an airport “to establish, construct, equip, maintain and operate an airport for the use of aeroplanes” (sic).  The city has power to “to require railroad companies to place and maintain watchmen, at their own expense, at such railroad street crossings as the City Council may deem dangerous or a menace to public travel” (sec. 16.2). Against firecrackers and toy pistols is a rule granting city authority to regulate items that prove ”dangerous to the security and well-being of the inhabitants or to property”(sec 2.1.19). If an uproar is too great, the city is given power to “provide for the arrest, imprisonment and punishment of riotous and disorderly persons within the city, and for the punishment of all breaches of the peace, noise, disturbance or disorderly assemblies” (sec 2.1.23)

Sexual morays in view


The city’s public interest touches on sexual morays in a provision allowing it to suppress prostitution.

“(17)    Same-Theatrical and other exhibitions; suppression of bawdy houses, gambling equipment, etc. To license, tax and regulate theatrical or other exhibitions, moving picture shows, amusements and to prohibit and suppress gambling houses, disorderly houses, bawdy houses, obscene pictures and literature; the sale, manufacture or transportation of intoxicating liquors in violation of the laws of the state or ordinances of the city, and to confiscate and destroy gambling equipment, stills and intoxicating liquors when manufactured, possessed or transported in violation of the federal or state laws or ordinances of the city. (Priv. Acts 1949, Ch. 536, § 2)”

Chattanooga is as a town may have preceded the creation of the state. But it is chartered by the general assembly, based in Nashville. It is wholly a creature of state government.
This provision in the charter (a document separate from the more easily modified city code) indicates the city has a duty to regulate illicit behavior that tends to be destructive of individuals and the public at large. A bawdy house is a whorehouse, where sexual relations are sold for cash. Obscene pictures and literature refer to pornography, which incites its users into sexual arousal and is thought to encourage sexual activity. Intoxicating liquors are thought to destroy individual dignity of those made in the image of God, and are known to be destructive of family capital and family life.


The charter implicitly favors public order and a suppression of people and entities that encourage disorder. The word “suppression” is a result of the operation of police power. Cities exercise police power in innumerable areas, some of which I suggest elsewhere are illicit and suppressive of the free market and personal constitutional liberties. That aside, the city charter is a rule of life for the city. Beyond its scope city government is forbidden to go.

The charter provisions I cite indicate an interest in sexual morals and their protection. We know these barriers are there because the gay ordinance is an attempt to override them.

‘Non-platonic’ relations in ink?

The city describes the sexual interest of unmarried partners delicately. A city FAQ says “the city employee and the domestic partner share a primary residence and have chosen to share one another's lives in an non-platonic, committed, and mutually caring manner.”

“Voluntary sexual intercourse between two unmarried persons” is Black’s Law Dictionary definition of fornication. Fornication is condemned in the scriptures as a sin because it violates the protections afforded by law to marriage, and that because fornication is union and intimacy without promise or future and without commitment until death. The city charter views fornication as a vice, something to be discouraged because it does not further the public good.

Opposition to the gay ordinance is premised on the bedrock definition of marriage. Also, it is based on the presumption that public authority should protect it, and that to subsidize “non-platonic” relationships violates the city’s purpose to benefit the public at large.

Sources: “Municipal corporations,” Tennessee Jurisprudence

David Tulis is host of Nooganomics.com, which airs in Chattanooga 1 to 3 p.mat Copperhead 1240 AM, or online at 1240wsdt.com. The show explores local economy and free markets in Chattanooga and beyond. 

* * * 

I would assume that since Mr Tullis is so concerned with the "public welfare " based on scripture, that we can cease providing benefits for those who are divorced or remarried as well. That should save the city plenty of money. 

Shaking my head. 

D.J. Locke


Improvements On The Glass Bridge

The glass bridge has been an embarrassing situation almost since the day of installation. At least two or three and usually more sections of glass have continuously been cracked. This creates fear in pedestrians and causes most to want to use the middle metal section. In addition, it has not been maintained for cleanliness.  I observed that both the front section and ... (click for more)

California Is Hypocritical - And Response

Re:  Roy Exum: California's Foolishness This is the ridiculousness that has always been California, land of fools and the extremist liberal hypocrite state. ("We" can punish "you" because "we" don't like what "you" stand for but don't punish "me" because "you" don't like what "we" stand for.)  Dear California, please drop anchor somewhere else because you're a large ... (click for more)

County Commission May Amend Resolution Dealing With 501(c)(3)s; Humane Society Says It Won't Comply

The County Commission may amend a resolution it passed that would put a member of the commission on the board of the 501(c)(3)s that receive over 25 percent of their funding from the county. It would also require the agencies to follow county purchasing, travel and expense policies. After the measure was passed 6-3, the county got a letter from the Humane Education Society ... (click for more)

Walker County Taking Out Another Loan To Deal With Debts Left By Bebe Heiskell Administration

Walker County officials said they are having to take out another loan to deal with debts left by the Bebe Heiskell administration. Commissioner Shannon Whitfield has called a special meeting for Thursday at 2 p.m. at the commissioner's office in Lafayette. The agenda includes a $4 million tax anticipation note from Lafayette Bank, which stepped in to help the new administration ... (click for more)

Chattanooga FC Hosts Memphis City FC Wednesday

 What a week it's been for CFC. After starting the season scoring only six goals in eight games, the boys in blue have racked up 12 goals in the last three matches, most recently shutting down FC Carolina United 5-0 this past Saturday.  Chattanooga FC returns to the pitch this Wednesday to take on interstate rival Memphis City FC in a must win game for both teams  ... (click for more)

30 Mocs On Academic All-Southern Conference Team

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga put 30 student-athletes on the 2017 Spring Academic All-Southern Conference Team, the league office announced this week.  Junior women's golfer Megan Woods and sophomore women's tennis player Sydney Patton led the way with perfect 4.0 grade-point-averages.  The spring squad consists of representatives from the following ... (click for more)