After weeks of fervent public debate, rallies, packed hearings and letters to the editor, an ordinance to extend benefits to the unmarried partners of Chattanooga city workers came down to one vote.
With a five-to-four vote, Chattanooga moved one step closer to becoming Tennessee’s third city to extend city employee benefits to gay and unmarried couples. Collegedale and Knoxville both adopted similar policies earlier this year.
“Huge step for equality & fairness in Chattanooga!” councilman Chris Anderson tweeted within minutes of the final vote. Anderson proposed the ordinance after announcing in August that the adoption of a same-sex ordinance was one of his highest priorities.
The ordinance also updates Chattanooga’s discrimination clause to prohibit the city from firing workers based on sexual orientation or gender identity and protects them from workplace harassment.
Tuesday’s vote represented a first-reading approval. The ordinance will have to be approved one more time before it becomes part of the city code.