Some say the Battle of Chattanooga was the beginning of the end in the War Between the States, as the defeat of Confederate troops opened the door for Sherman’s march to Atlanta and on to the sea. When it comes to the “culture war” in Tennessee, before the end of the month, all eyes may again be on Chattanooga.
This week, Chattanooga became the first of Tennessee’s four largest cities to vote on an ordinance that essentially redefined marriage. The ordinance redefines marriage by saying that, with respect to city employees, marriage is no different as a matter of public policy than any other relationship between two people, unrelated by blood or marriage, who are having sex with each other.
In other words, if a city employee is living with someone who isn’t related to him or her by blood or marriage, and is having sex with that other person, then the sexual partner and any children who may be dependent on them can get health insurance.
The vote, five to four in favor of redefining marriage, will have to be repeated a second time this coming Tuesday before the ordinance becomes final. But if some citizens in Chattanooga have their way, that won’t be the end of it.
Some Chattanoogans have announced they are coming together to take advantage of their referenda rights under the city’s charter. Voters in Chattanooga will get the chance to go to the polls and rescind the ordinance if just fewer than 5,000 of them sign a petition before the 25th of November to put it on the ballot.
While the definition of marriage is the front line issue in the “culture war,” it is not just the so-called “religious right” that may take up arms. Others may be disturbed by the Council’s vote than just those who believe the proposed ordinance denigrates marriage to nothing more than two people who live together and have sex.
Actually, many are upset that in 2010 the city had to cut insurance benefits for certain retired employees because the city didn’t have enough money. In other words, the city didn’t have enough money to continue providing what it had promised. Now it supposedly has enough money to fund an unpredictable liability to care for those who aren’t actually even employees.
And, speaking of employees, as it was noted by one council member who opposed the ordinance, there are some who work for the city who do not get access to any health insurance benefits. Not enough money for that either.
Some are rightly concerned that the cost to taxpayers for city employee health insurance has gone up by about fifty percent in the last six years. Of course, that’s before the unknown costs taxpayers will have to shoulder due to the Obamacare debacle.
There are many reasons why Chattanooga taxpayers might not think it prudent to begin adding people who are not employees onto the taxpayers’ payroll. On account of these legitimate fiscal issues, there are likely many who believe the five council members in support of the ordinance were motivated by nothing more than a desire to advance a social agenda
Some have rightly asked, “If this was such an important issue, why did not one member of the Council talk about this issue in the election campaigns completed just a few months ago?” It appears that not even the sponsor of the ordinance campaigned on it.
The opportunity for Chattanoogans to express themselves on the politics of the candidates who foisted a surprise issue on them is still a few years away. However, in a few weeks, we’ll find out how many Chattanoogans are interested in resisting the divisiveness and expense of the culture war that has been foisted on them by homosexual activists. The current-day battle of Chattanooga has begun.