published Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

Cook: Benefits of being in love

Lt. Corliss Cooper has been swept off her feet.

"I'm in love," the Chattanooga police officer said.

They met three years ago in Alton Park. Immediately, Cooper knew she'd found her soul mate. First comes love, then comes marriage: This Monday, at 3 p.m., Cooper and her fiancee will exchange rings and vows. Their wedding colors are white and black; it'll be a courthouse wedding. Cooper's still trying to decide on a photographer.

"I'm nervous. I'm excited," she said. "I've got this constant grin."

It's a destination wedding in Washington, D.C. When they return to Chattanooga, Cooper would like to begin filling out the paperwork that would add her new spouse to the benefits plan the city offers its employees.

Just as I would for my wife. Just as you would for yours.

"You're married, right? You've got benefits for your wife, right?" she said. "Then why shouldn't I have benefits for mine?"

Lt. Cooper is gay; she's marrying another woman.

"She [can] feel my heart beating through my chest. Through my vest. That's what she does to me," she said. "It's the same thing everybody experiences."

Miles away in Washington, they will pledge their life to one another as, back home, our city tries to find its way out of a crucial debate: will Chattanooga's City Council pass legislation that would give equal benefits to domestic partners -- same and opposite sex -- of city employees?

"I pay taxes. She pays taxes. We have a home together," Cooper said. "What's the big deal about who I fell in love with?"

Well, lieutenant, the big deal is this:

"It's a crime against nature," said one man at City Council last week.

"The basic building block of our society is basically destroyed," said another man. "That's the reason our society is going down the drain."

"Communism," said a third man.

"Wickedness," said a fourth.

It's become the single biggest issue this council, or perhaps any other in years past, has dealt with. The benefits plan would provide health and medical benefits to the domestic partner of a city employee who can prove -- through names on a lease, power of attorney, joint bank account and other ways -- that they're living in an intimate and committed relationship.

The first vote is tonight.

"It's fairly standard," said Councilman Chris Anderson, who authored the legislation after studying more than 100 other cities and businesses that offer similar benefits.

Yet it has become ground zero for social, political and religious tensions: packed crowds that have caught the fire marshal's attention, shouting citizens, armed guards.

"I don't see why people get so offended by who makes me happy," Cooper said.

In her story, so much exists. The double-edged discrimination of being black and gay in Chattanooga. A family that's always supported her. Others who don't. Her belief in a God that loves her. Her experiences traveling to enough cities to recognize the difference between places that are gay friendly and those that are not.

"This city is growing. It's ready to grow," she said. "People don't realize that the times are changing."

She's heard from other officers who are frustrated by what they see as a double standard of a City Council that may expand benefits and a City Hall that may restructure their pension.

"That's apples and oranges," said Cooper, who's been a Chattanooga officer for 26 years. "You can't penalize people because you think something's going to be taken away from you."

Cooper's wedding reminds us that her love is just like any heterosexual love: it is patient and kind. It protects, trusts and perseveres. It endures.

Love is the building block of society; the antidote to wickedness. Love. Not the gender of her spouse.

"It's awesome to be accepted unconditionally," she added.

Hear that, City Council?

Contact David Cook at or 423-757-6329. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter at DavidCookTFP.

about David Cook...

David Cook is the award-winning city columnist for the Times Free Press, working in the same building where he began his post-college career as a sportswriter for the Chattanooga Free Press. Cook, who graduated from Red Bank High, holds a master's degree in Peace and Justice Studies from Prescott College and an English degree from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. For 12 years, he was a teacher at the middle, high school and university ...

Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
conservative said...

It has to be obvious even to the most casual observer by now that Mr. Cook could care less about the eternal destination of Homosexuals.

Mr. Cook would call his failure to warn love.

Do not be deceived:

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor HOMOSEXUALS, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 1Corinthians 6:9-10

November 12, 2013 at 7:19 a.m.
LibDem said...

These are the lucky ones.

November 12, 2013 at 9:56 a.m.
una61 said...

Does Cook's employer plan to publish the wedding announcement in the Sunday paper? If not, why not?

November 12, 2013 at 12:13 p.m.
GaussianInteger said...

There goes Conman, adding "homosexual" into a bible verse where it doesn't exist; rewriting God's word, if you will. Where you conveniently inserted "homosexual", it actually says "nor abusers of themselves with mankind". Since when did blasphemy become acceptable?

November 12, 2013 at 4:34 p.m.
conservative said...


There you go again. The word "homosexual" most assuredly exists. I repeat, the word "homosexual" most assuredly exists.

Both "homosexual" in the NAS translation and the words "nor abusers of themselves with mankind" in the KJV mean the same thing. They denote men having sex with other men.

The New American Standard translation is a more modern and literal trnslation than the original King James of 1611.

This is common knowledge among Christians.

Also I discussed this with you before at 7:40 a.m.on 8 November. Here is part of that discussion:


There are several Scripture verses that condemn Homosexuality. I chose the one that plainly states that a Homosexual will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

What is there to debate about which is plainly stated in God's word? Yes, non believers/Liberals/Homosexuals/false teachers constantly invent arguments that Paul or Jesus said this or that about Homosexuality. That is their role as someone opposed to God. Why would you expect something different?

"Abusers of themselves with mankind" was a polite way of saying Homosexual by the King James translators. They also said "know" when referring to sexual relations, a euphemism.


I suggest you look up the words blasphemy, slander, deceiver and con man.

November 12, 2013 at 5:10 p.m.
GaussianInteger said...

^What your stating as fact is actually debated by biblical scholars and leaves plenty to debate. And if "abusers of themselves with mankind is a polite way to say homosexual" why weren't they more polite when they mention adulterer or blasphemer?

And one more thing, you're whole "this is common knowledge among Christians" is a load of bull. Plenty of things from the bible are debated among different denominations, homosexuality is one of them.

Besides, Jesus says the two most commandments are to "love God with all of your heart, thy soul, and thy mind. Second, is to love neighbor as thyself". Nowhere did he make mention of damning homosexuals (or anyone else for that matter) to hell.

November 12, 2013 at 6:26 p.m.
conservative said...

I noticed you didn't say Christian "biblical scholars." These are unbelievers who atttack the word of God continually.

"Scholar" denotes someone who spends a lot of time on a subject. These non Christian scholars spend a lot of time attacking the word of God which you accused me of doing.

Scripture was not written in English. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 as well as the rest of the New Testament was written in GREEK.

The King James and New American Standard as well as other good translations are just that, translations.The King James is not the originally inspired Scripture.

If someone has told you that "abusers of themselves with mankind" does not refer to homosexual activity then they are liars and I would ask that you cite that site.

November 12, 2013 at 6:48 p.m.
conservative said...


You don't seem to know that Jesus was God incarnate, God manifested in the flesh, humanity.

Scripture is God's word, and this word is not up for debate with Christians, only non Christians.

God condemns Homosexuality in several Scripture passages.

November 12, 2013 at 7 p.m.
conservative said...


The crowd that defends Homosexuality constantly brings up the love of God in an attempt to condone the sexual perversion.

Consider - Ye that love the LORD, hate evil:Psalm 97:10 KJV

If you love your neighbor you will warn your neighbor of the consequences of his evil behavior. Hate for your neighbor would not warn him of the judgment of God on Homosexual behavior:

Do not be deceived the Homosexual will not inherit the Kingdom of God:

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor HOMOSEXUALS, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. 1Corinthians 6:9-10NAS

November 12, 2013 at 7:24 p.m.
GaussianInteger said...

I forgot. I am arguing with someone that is borderline insane. Keep changing the verses in the Bible to make yourself feel superior to all of us that don't believe the same way. I'm just surprise that Kenny Orr hasn't show up to help you in spreading more hate-filled propaganda. Have a good evening sir.

November 12, 2013 at 7:38 p.m.
conservative said...

You are very wrong. It is you and those who defend Homosexuality that try to pervert God's word.

You can't change the meaning of 1 Corthians 6:9-10 to say that God will allow Homosexuals into his kingdom.

November 12, 2013 at 7:48 p.m.
GaussianInteger said...

I don't defend homosexuality, I defend treating human beings kind, regardless of their sexual orientation.

November 12, 2013 at 8:03 p.m.
conservative said...

Defending Homosexuality is all that you have done.

November 12, 2013 at 8:05 p.m.
fairmon said...

You are both full of crap. It is none of your business who is marrying who. It is some of the business of every tax payer how their tax money is spent and supporting spouses in any way that cost the city is not right. Allowing the city employee to pay the cost of their partners participation at no cost to they city and those paying the bills is no problem be they gay or straight. That same principle should apply to any and all benefits including the 50% pension survivor requirement.

November 12, 2013 at 11:26 p.m.
storioni said...

To conservative: The word "homosexual" was not coined until the 1850s (Commom Era, I might add) and as such, its inclusion in any version of the bible makes the scholarship behind said version highly questionable. But, I have the feeling that you are not concerned with the integrity of the various versions of a book for which there are no original sources. If you consider this to be a defense of "human" scholarship, I would counter that the concept of the "inerrancy of scripture" is an equally human concept that was foisted on scripture in the 1800s, by people, I might add, who were in no scholarly position to asset such a dubious claim.

November 13, 2013 at 11:36 a.m.
conservative said...


You are obviously an unbeliever.

It doesn't matter what word is used to convey the sin and abomination of Homosexuality. You will not find the word "Homosexual" in any other language. However you will find a word that conveys the sin and abomination of Homosexuality in all translations of the Scriptures from the original Greek into all other languages.

But you already knew that, didn't you?

November 13, 2013 at 12:11 p.m.
please login to post a comment

videos »         

photos »         

e-edition »


Find a Business

400 East 11th St., Chattanooga, TN 37403
General Information (423) 756-6900
Copyright, Permissions, Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, Ethics policy - Copyright ©2014, Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc. All rights reserved.
This document may not be reprinted without the express written permission of Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc.