Residents of Chattanooga, Tennessee, voted down an ordinance that previously extended benefits to the domestic partners of city employees. The ordinance, which was passed by the City Council in November of last year, expanded the city's employee non-discrimination policy to include sexual orientation and gender identity, and also allowed city employees to enroll their domestic partners in employee health benefit programs.
Opponents of equality petitioned to have the ordinance passed through a public vote before it could take effect. That vote occurred during yesterday's primary elections, in which the equality ordinance was struck down by 62.6% of voters.
In response to the vote, Mayor Burke stated:
“I have no doubt Chattanoogans value fairness and equality, and I am proud of the volunteers who spent nights and weekends to ensure our employees are treated equally. The City of Chattanooga’s non-discrimination ordinance was repealed tonight, but I want every City employee to know one thing -- your work is valued and you are important to the future of our community. Regardless of the results tonight, my Administration will continue to hire and promote the best people who provide excellent service to our constituents."