Ballot Wording Stands

Reported by: Bill Mitchell

Edited by: Ashley Henderson
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Updated: 7/07 5:24 pm
CHATTANOOGA, TN. (WDEF-TV) -- Chattanoogans will vote on the controversial ordinance that would provide benefits for domestic partners of city employees.
But a circuit court judge had to decide on the wording of that question.

Chattanooga Police Lieutenant Corliss Cooper and the city challenged the wording of the question as approved by the election commission.
The group, Citizens for Government Accountability and Transparency sided with the commission.
The judge cited state law.

JUDGE NEIL THOMAS, HAMILTON CO. CIRCUIT COURT "The voters ought to be voting what has been proposed by the petition..and that's exactly what's happened in this case. Consequently my decision is that the motion rule be denied...and we'll go forward with the language contained on the ballot as proposed by the election commission."

City councilman Chris Anderson disagreed.

CHRIS ANDERSON, CITY COUNCILMAN "Judges make decisions everyday that are overturned and are wrong. And this one may be one of those..either way I think his interpretation is wrong and so do a lot of attorneys." :

CHRIS CLEM, ELECTION COMMISSIONER "Under the statute it was pretty clear that when the petitioners drafted their petition and get 7500 signatures...its their question that goes on the ballot."

Republicans and democrats on the election commission voted unanimously in favor of the wording.

CHRIS CLEM "The election commission really didn't care who had the better worded question...that wasn't the issue before us."

MARK WEST, CITIZENS FOR GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY " What I don't understand really was the city council making a decision the 11th hour...file a lawsuit and get involved in this whole matter."

West says he thinks it was a complete waste of tax-payer resources.

The ballot wording asks if the city should add sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression to the city's non-discrimination policy.
The election is August 7th.

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