Let me see if I got this right. First you deny people the freedom to marry and then you criticize them for having "unmarried sex".
Constitutional rights are not subject to a popular vote. Within the past year, 15 federal courts have considered the constitutionality of state bans on same sex marriage. All 15 courts have decided that such bans violate the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The list includes District Courts in Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin as well as the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals that affirmed the lower court's ruling in Utah. Oral arguments in the 6th Circuit for Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee are scheduled for early next month. There is a good chance that SCOTUS will hear a marriage equality case in their next term. Since the Federal DOMA decision last year, opponents of marriage equality have not been able to come up with a single argument that stands up in court.
There are ways that domestic partner coverage could be added without increasing the total cost. For instance, the city could implement a waiting period for new employees before they could cover their dependents. If you tell a 20-year employee that the city can't afford to cover their partner of 10 years while then covering the dependents of a new hire, the affordability explanation is not credible.
I think the magnitude of the retiree benefit funding shortfall is such that minor adjustments to the employee benefit program would be insufficient to overcome it.
Whether the city made the right decision when terminating health coverage for retirees while continuing to provide coverage for dependents of active workers is not the question on the ballot.
Voting down the domestic partner ordinance won't bring back the retiree benefits. All it will do is continue to deny equal benefits to some current city employees (including police officers and fire fighters) who have served the residents of Chattanooga for many years and who have been short changed on their benefits compared to their co-workers for their entire careers.
If cost were the motivation for this petition, then it should have blocked coverage for all new dependents rather than just those of same sex couples. I haven't heard any objections from those who organized the petition drive to adding the spouses of newlywed city employees. Each employee who covers a new spouse results in an incremental cost.
Cities and companies across the country have been providing partner benefits for decades. There is ample statistical evidence upon which to base cost estimates.
But in any event, the issue will probably be moot within a year. By this time next year the Supreme Court will likely have ruled on one of the many marriage equality cases working its way through the federal court system now and same sex couples will be able to get legally married in TN and the rest of the country.
Libby Workman, your letter points out just one of the issues with Representative Todd's proposal. Unlike Arizona, where they are always in the same time zone as some of their neighboring states (even though which ones varies), the proposal to keep TN on CDT/EDT year round would mean that Eastern TN would be a "time zone island" for four months of the year. No other state in the country would be on the same time as Eastern TN. The time zone would be shared with Puerto Rico, however.
If somebody wanted to commit benefits fraud, it would seem that a sham marriage would be the more attractive option. Unlike Domestic Partner benefits, with a marriage there's no 1-year waiting period and the city contribution to the premiums is not taxable income.
Private employers and government employers in other locations have provided Domestic Partner benefits for more than 20 years. Fraud hasn't been a big issue.
Mr. Orr ...Please review the opinion from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California at:
It contains a very robust analysis of how the subject of your
comment leads to the subject of mine.
Passed by Congress June 13, 1866. Ratified July 9, 1868.
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.