City Council Misses Opportunity To Correct Bad Decision - And Response

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The City Council has rejected the results of a successful petition to overturn benefits for homosexuals and unmarried heterosexuals. It missed an opportunity to correct a bad decision. Instead, its obstinate behavior will result in unnecessary costs related to putting the matter on a ballot when the issue could have been settled last night. Clearly, members of the City Council feel they are unaccountable to the voters who elected them. They seem irritated to be questioned about their decisions. This is a fight between elected officials and their constituents that did not need to happen. 

Perhaps it is time to look at recalling members of the City Council who support spending money on things the taxpayers do not want. The decision to provide benefits for unmarried city workers who shack up is both immoral and expensive. The timing of it is suspect, given the election of Chattanooga's first openly gay official. What's next in Chattanooga? Will the Council support gay marriage? Will they legalize marijuana?

Having thwarted the will of the people in a manner similar to the (thankfully) departed Littlefield, the City Council requires fundamental change. It is time for Chattanoogans to get more interested in electing officials who support our values. Let's keep the Council's feet to the fire and make sure this issue is not forgotten when the next election rolls around.  

I will not forget. 

Jim Nichols 

* * * 

I don't understand why the city is insisting on going forward with this. They spent a lot of time developing an ordinance that is so all inclusive, it includes an Achilles heel. The goal: provide benefits to same sex partners. The result: provide benefits to everyone. This is the old adage of, "if your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail."  

Marriage is currently defined on a state level. Why is the council trying to circumnavigate that? I think Councilman Anderson did a horrible bait and switch with the voters. If changing the definition of marriage was his main mission for running, he should have run for a state level representative and fought it on the appropriate level. Or he could have used his new position and media coverage to address the state legislature and get the definition changed. Maybe easier said than done, but his election to the council proves that these times are a'changin' 

Imagine the headline: Tennessee Acknowledges Same-sex Marriages from Out of State.  Then Mr. Anderson would have been triumphant in accomplishing the goal of providing benefits to same sex partners, not only in the city, but state wide. In all of the little cities and businesses! Instead, he and the council aimed small and missed big.  

The opposition now includes the religious right, who will opposed homosexuals anyways, and those who are concerned about expanding the city's financial liabilities. In a time when the city's pension plans are under great scrutiny, and the former employee's benefits having been recently cut, the second group is way too big to draw a line in the sand and then call them bigots. 

I suggest repeal the ordinance and head to Nashville. Go big or go home. 

Tim Giordano

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