Chattanooga City Council votes 5-4 to pass 1st reading of same-sex bill

Chattanooga City Council votes 5-4 to pass 1st reading of same-sex bill

November 12th, 2013 by Joy Lukachick Smith in Local Regional News

POLL: Do you approve of the city council's decision to extend benefits to same-sex couples?

Chattanooga City Hall

Photo by Meghan Brown

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.