Vote Yes On The Domestic Partner Ordinance

Friday, August 1, 2014

Remember when the Pharisees came to Jesus dragging a woman (presumably kicking and screaming) whom they had allegedly caught in the act of adultery (presumably because they were peeping) to ask him what they should do with her, and he handed them a shovel, had them bury her up to her waist, then threw the first stone?

Yea, me neither.

Oh, wait, now I remember, it was a gay man that Jesus had the Pharisees bury up to his waist then threw out the first stone.

No, sorry, that was in Uganda.

  Or was it Russia?

One segment of HBO’s drama “The Newsroom”, opens with Jeff Daniels’ character Will McAvoy starting his newscast with the story of Dorothy Cooper, the 96 year old Chattanoogan initially denied her right to vote because of the legislature in the “greatest state in the land of the free” passing a $COTU$-approved voter suppression law.  The one that says you have to pay the poll tax of getting a government issued picture ID to prevent voter fraud that never existed.

At the end of this report, McAvoy calls the Tea Party the American Taliban.  If you think that’s an exaggeration, the financial backers of the law in Uganda prescribing the death penalty for gays came from Tea Party members who want to create over there the twisted version of the kingdom-of-God-on-Earth that they can’t create here, at least for the moment.

This American Taliban not only sits in our governor’s seat, controls both houses of our legislature, and makes up most of our Congressional delegation, it has come to Chattanooga.  They recently tried, and failed, to recall one of our city commissioners because he’s gay and not in the closet and they don’t like that.  It didn’t matter that his district (St. Elmo and Alton Park) is on the polar opposite side of the city from where the chief financial and organizational backer of the recall effort lived (Tyner) and that the effort amounted to local-scale carpet bagging.

Here I was, just beginning to start to feel a little bit less ashamed to be from Tennessee after the effort in the legislature to make it legal for businesses to discriminate against gays crashed and burned taxing on the runway.  Then the recall attempt started.

On Thursday, Aug. 7, there will be a question at the end of the ballot for voters in the City of Chattanooga to approve or disapprove the “domestic partnership” ordinance passed by the City Council, which actually contains two provisions. 

The first extends benefits to domestic partners.  True, this will benefit same-sex couples who in this state, under the current all-Tea Party regime aren’t even allowed to jump the broom, but it will also benefit couples in long-term relationships who for any variety of reasons are not married.

The second provision extends protections against discrimination to sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.

I know what some might be thinking.  Approval of domestic partnership benefits for city workers is the first step in a very slippery slope toward the dreaded “gay marriage”.  Chill.  This isn’t even about “civil unions”, the 21st century equivalent of  “jumping the broom”.  And do you really think our Christian Supremacist-controlled legislature in Nashville is going to cease marriage inequality until forced to do so (as it eventually will) by federal courts?

Keep this in mind also, when the inevitable occurs here as it has all over the country, in Virginia most recently:  marriage was made for man, not man for marriage.

On the question ‘Shall the City of Chattanooga's "domestic partnership" ordinance
(Ordinance No. 12781) be adopted?’, vote ‘Yes’ and make our city a little bit more hospitable place to live.  Because of the double provisions, a vote of ‘No’ is necessarily a vote to make Chattanooga a sanctuary for official discrimination, and we are better than that.

Chuck Hamilton


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