Chattanooga City Council passes the first reading of a controversial bill to expand benefits to city employees in domestic partnerships, which includes gay couples.
The bill squeaked by with a 5-4 vote in front of a packed crowd, making Chattanooga one step closer to becoming the third city in Tennessee to expand benefits to same sex couples.
Before the vote the council voted down an amendment to form two bills, separating the non-discrimination clause from the benefit expansion. Afterwards each council member spoke their side before voting.
"Treating everyone equally doesn't threaten the religious liberty of others," said Councilman Chris Anderson. "Vote yes for equality and condemn discrimination."
Councilman Russell Gilbert said he is voting against the bill on a personal level because marriage is sacred and from his district's perspective the city can't afford it.
Read tomorrow's Times Free Press for complete details.
Joy Lukachick Smith is the city government reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Since 2009, she's covered crime and court systems in North Georgia and rural Tennessee, landed an exclusive in-prison interview with a former cop convicted of killing his wife, exposed impropriety in an FBI-led, child-sex online sting and exposed corruption in government agencies. Earlier this year, Smith won the Malcolm Law Memorial Award for Investigative Reporting. She also won first place in ...