No Equality In Chattanooga's Sex Ordinance - And Response

Friday, November 8, 2013

One of the primary messages that is repeated over and over by Councilman Chris Anderson, Mayor Berke and their supporters is that their "Benefits and Equity Ordinance" is all about equality.  Sounds all fair and good on the surface.  But if one takes just a minute to read the Summary of the Ordinance provided by Mr. Anderson and the Office of the City Attorney, which has also been fully embraced by the mayor, it's abundantly clear that they never had any intentions of being fair or seeking equity.  

I have said for some time that this ordinance should be renamed the "Sex" ordinance because that is clearly the identifying characteristic of the relationships to be covered by this ordinance - they must include a sexual component.  And if there is no sex, then you get no benefits.   

Doubt it?  Then here's proof.  The Summary of Benefits & Equity Ordinance states this:

"The city employee and domestic partner cannot be lineal ancestors or descendants or related to a  degree of kinship that would prevent marriage under the laws of the State of Tennessee." 

Yes, you read that correctly.   Incredibly the ordinance, proffered by self-professed homosexual Councilman Chris Anderson, specifically excludes family members from qualifying for the benefit.  So if you happen to be a single individual working for the city of Chattanooga and your brother, sister, mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, aunt, uncle, older adult daughter or son live with you, then you and they get nothing.  Nada.  These long-time family relationships qualify for exactly zero of these benefits.  

So much for equality.   

So much for fairness.  

So much for "equal benefits for equal work" - the slogan Anderson and his followers love to chant every time a TV camera is around. 

In addition to the deception of Councilman Anderson, Mayor Berke and their supporters, what is beyond belief is that they then chose to disqualify all of these individuals from receiving these sex-based benefits under the excuse that the marriage laws of the State of Tennessee would not recognize them as being able to marry legally.

Are you serious?   

Meanwhile Anderson and Berke want to ignore and violate the Tennessee Constitution that clearly defines that marriage is between one man and one woman and does not recognize common law marriages. 

What hypocrisy.  If ever there was an ordinance that is blatantly unequal, unfair and serves to benefit the individual proffering this ill conceived initiative it is the "Benefits & Equity Ordinance" aka the Sex Ordinance.

If you agree that this is a horrible ordinance and deserves to be defeated, call or email your city councilman and the mayor, and ask your friends to do the same.  You can make a difference if you chose to engage in this battle.

Mark West 

* * * 

Mark West offers a very interesting point of view in his opinion regarding the domestic partner benefits ordnance as proposed by Councilman Anderson.  There seems to be an easy solution to his problem... let's go ahead an legalize marriage to our siblings.  Problem solved.  On the bright side, we wouldn't be hurting the already stellar reputation of how the South is perceived by the rest of our nation. 

Almost every senator in the U.S. Congress voted 'Nay' on the 'Employment Non-Discrimination Act', including our two Congressman from Tennessee.  History repeats itself as this was almost the same exact voting record of the same states when the Jim Crow laws were repealed and women were given the right to vote.  Thankfully, enough senators took the side of reasonable human beings and passed the act. 

For those who attended the City Council meeting this week which showcased public opinion about the ordinance, a sincere thank you is in order to all of you that were present.  Even the Council chairmen thanked everyone for their civility after the meeting. 

However, during the speeches of those who opposed the ordinance, some of the most ridiculous, ludicrous, fear mongering, 'hell fire and brimstone' comparisons and reasons were put forth to the council.  It sounded like the start of a really bad joke: "Tornadoes, Hitler, Wikipedia, chess clocks and the doppelganger domestic partner police walk into a gay bar...". 

Chattanooga needs to be on the right side of the issue.  If the South isn't ready for 'gay marriage, 'then the ability of those in committed relationships, who are not allowed to marry, should receive the exact same benefits. 

For those of you who us Biblical references to denounce and dehumanize your fellow Chattanoogans, I'll leave you with this true life story.   

Two men have been in a 25+ year committed relationship filled with the same love, hardships, compromises, wonderful memories and struggles as any other loving couple would endure.  One partner in this couple is struck by the vehicle driven by a drunk driver.  This partner, while in the ICU, was not permitted to be seen by his long term partner because he was not 'next of kin' nor was allowed the designation of domestic partner.  He was forbidden to see his loved one before he passed.  His last breath was taken, alone, in a hospital, while the person he dedicated his life to two walls and 15 feet away. 

If Jesus Christ Himself, were standing between those two walls, what would He have done?  Would He have stood by the laws made by man and kept two sets of locked doors between two loving people?  Or would He have taken the hand of one, led him to the bedside of his soon to pass partner, and prayed with them together? 

Only one person could answer this hypothetical question, and everyone will stand before Him one day and hear his answer. 

Justin Strickland

* * *

The Employee Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) did not pass Congress yesterday.  It was only approved by a majority in the Senate, without adoption of proposed amendments by Republicans, and forwarded to the House.  It is dead on arrival in the House.  

The Speaker has indicated that he does not plan to bring it to the floor for consideration.  So don't count your chickens before they hatch. 

Charlotte Parton
Chattanooga





Sewage Contaminating Our Water

For anyone who lives near Moccasin Bend, it's no secret that there is raw sewage and feces being pumped into our water and the Tennessee River. Ask any fisherman or boater who is on the water before they stop pumping of a morning and they will tell you stories such as this. I've seen it myself personally and have witnessed the brown and yellow concoction that is being blasted into ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Two From Sandy

Down through the years I have delighted in sharing stories that come from my friend Sandy Pohfal in Texas. Seeing how Thanksgiving is almost here – day after tomorrow – I figure it’s about time to slow down and let warmth of this week prepare us to give thanks for both the good and bad – without the bad things we wouldn’t recognize the real blessings. The first story I am going ... (click for more)

City Council Votes On 1st Reading To Lower Rain Retention Requirement In South Chickamauga Creek Basin

The City Council on Tuesday voted to lower the requirement for rainwater retention in the South Chickamauga Creek basin. The move from holding the first 1.6 inches to one inch had been requested by the Home Builders Association and the Berke administration. Sandy Kurtz, longtime leader of the South Chickamauga Creek Greenway Alliance, said the resolution was "not yet ready ... (click for more)

Former Pilot Regional Account Specialist Says Former President Mark Hazelwood Approved Of Fraud

When well-known attorney Rusty Hardin on Tuesday asked a former Pilot regional account specialist if she believed that former president Mark Hazelwood knew of a plan to cheat trucking firms he didn't get the answer he expected. Holly Radford told a jury in Chattanooga, "I know he had knowledge of the rebate schemes that were going on. "I had conversations with him about it ... (click for more)

Davis, Volker Power Soddy-Daisy Past Hixson 53-31

Tuesday was Game 2 for Bill Eller being back on the sideline as a head basketball coach. “I was nervous as heck in the first one,” Eller said Tuesday night after his Trojans belted Hixson, 53-31, behind the potent one-two scoring punch of Josh Davis and Doug Volker. “But this is my 29 th year coaching. It’s like riding a bicycle and once the ball is tipped, it’s about the ... (click for more)

CCS Sweeps Polk Co. In Thanksgiving Round Robin

Coach Eddie Salter appears to have a pretty good basketball team at Chattanooga Christian, but he’s still looking for the right chemistry as he finds the best combination of players to put on the floor. The season is still really young and the Chargers had only played one game coming into their annual Thanksgiving Round Robin Tournament Tuesday night, but it looks like he will ... (click for more)