City Has Concerns About Wording Of Domestic Partners Benefits Referendum, But Election Panel Approves It

Friday, June 27, 2014
Election panel deals with wording on domestic partners ordinance
Election panel deals with wording on domestic partners ordinance

The Election Commission, at an emergency meeting on Friday morning, once again approved the wording on the city's Domestic Partners Benefits ordinance, though Assistant City Attorney Phil Noblett said he has concerns that it is "vague and overbroad."

It was noted that the group that led a two-week petition drive to get the vote to try to overturn the ordinance got to draft it. However, Commissioner Chris Clem, former election office attorney, said that is the way it works under state law.

Mark West, Chattanooga Tea Party leader who led the effort that came up with 7,755 valid signatures, said, "At the front end we tried to make sure that it was precise and acceptable."

Kerry Steelman, election office administrator, said the version submitted by the petition group has been approved by state election officials.

Attorney Noblett said the city has concerns that voters would be getting "a slanted version" of the ordinance. He said the full ordinance is 5-6 pages long.

Mike Walden, commission chairman, said the city has often given short versions for election ballots of long ordinances.

The meeting was called as quickly as possible because the issue arose just as it is time to print the ballots, officials said.

Commissioner Jerry Summers, another former election office lawyer, also said he had concerns on whether voters were familiar with the ordinance. Ruth Braly, another commissioner, said, "They would have to be living under a rock if they do not know about it."

Mr. Summers asked that the news media print the entire ordinance and also that the full ordinance be placed on the Election Commission website.

The wording on the ballot says:

Shall the City of Chattanooga's

"domestic partnership' ordinance

(Ordinance No. 12781) be adopted?

--- For the Ordinance providing for the extension of benefits in domestic partnerships and adding sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression to the city's nondiscrimination policy

--- Against the Ordinance providing for the extension of benefits in domestic partnerships and adding sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression to the city's nondiscrimination policy 

Click here for the ordinance.




Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: BANTHER, WILLIAM DEWAYNE  HOMELESS CHATTANOOGA, 37405  Age at Arrest: 59 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County PROBATION VIOLATION (EVADING ARREST) --- BOHANNON, HENRY CHRISTOPHER  1915 SANDER DRIVE CLEVELAND, 37323  Age at Arrest: 27 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County ... (click for more)

Bradley County Detectives Seek Information On Man Caught On Surveillance Video

Detectives are asking for the public’s assistance in identifying a man captured on surveillance footage. On March 25, patrol deputies responded to AirSystems Unlimited, which is a local business located at 5668 South Lee Highway, in reference to a vehicle burglary. It was discovered a cell phone and car battery were taken out of a company vehicle which was in the parking lot. ... (click for more)

Slaxxon Regret - And Response

Back in the seventies my three oldest brothers had a buddy named Steve Slack. “Slack” was a star soccer player at Baylor and he grew up on Lookout Mountain, which is where I grew up. He and Jimmy, Henry and Bill went to the University of Virginia where they were roommates in an old, beat up house that was painted pink. Naturally, the place became known as the “Pink Palace” but lest ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Oh Yes, I Loved West

One of my most beloved friends died early Saturday morning at the age of 67. Then again, West Oehmig’s only brother – King – died a couple of years ago at 63 so it wasn’t by happenstance I remembered Abraham Lincoln’s famous line: “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years.” Here are two brothers who lived larger than any other pair I can ... (click for more)

Central's Parrott Throttles Ooltewah With 1-Hit Shutout

Ooltewah looked like it was still on spring break. Central was sharp, Brooke Parrott dazzling, Mikayla Gill swung the bat well and the Lady Pounders played like an unbeaten, once-tied ballclub. Parrott threw a one-hit shutout – the hit was a wind-blown pop on the infield – and Gill slapped a two-run double off Kayla Boseman to right-center field in the third inning and ... (click for more)

Notre Dame Thumps Bledsoe Co., 11-1

The Notre Dame baseball team was in a race of a different kind Monday evening and the Fighting Irish came out on top in all three categories. Facing the Bledsoe County Warriors at Notre Dame’s Hunter Field, the Irish beat the rain, they got finished before dark and most importantly, beat the Warriors 11-1 in five innings as they improved to 4-2 overall with the same record in ... (click for more)