Chattanooga Domestic Partnership Benefits Workshop

Reported by: Caitlyn Jones

Edited by: Caitlyn Jones
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Updated: 11/06/2013 9:40 am
        A room so packed, the Fire Marshall was turning people away at the door.
        All of them here to learn the nuts and bolts of domestic partner benefits.
        Attorney Wade Hinton explained that in order to be considered as a domestic partnership, the city employee and their partner must be at least 18, share a residence for at least 365 days, and be in a non platonic, caring, committed relationship.
        The proposal also includes a non-discrimination law for same sex workers.
        "We would be the last major city in the state to adopt language protecting its employees from discrimination based on gender identity or orientation," Hinton said.
        City council members were allowed two questions each.
        "Is there any evidence to suggest that a domestic partner costs more to insure than a spouse," asked Councilman Chris Anderson.
         HR Director Todd Dockery said, "there is no evidence to say that a domestic partner costs more than a spouse."
        Councilman Larry Grohn's question about how constitutional the proposal was, sparked some unsettlement in the crowd.
        "Our constitution does not recognize common law marriage.  Our constitution also does not recognize same sex marriage. But this ordinance gives approval to both," said Grohn.
        "What I don't wanna do is get distracted by the constitution in terms of that particular provision," said Hinton.  The reason I say that is because we are not defining marriage in this.  What we are doing is simply enlarging the group of beneficiaries that are available that are eligible for benefits."
        The vote for the ordinance will be November 12th.
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