The War on Marriage comes to Chattanooga

I don’t have to tell you that there’s a war going on over the definition of “marriage”, and it frequently seems as though those of us who stand for “traditional marriage” are losing. The battle lines seem to be drawn with Christian traditionalists on one side with gays, libertarians, and progressives on the other.

That’s what makes the happenings in Chattanooga, TN so interesting.

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.

Two people having sex. There are a whole bunch of interesting points I could make about this, but I won’t. The most interesting part of this story really has nothing to do with the morality of this definition, it has to do with the battle lines being drawn in Chattanooga.

The policy isn’t yet set in stone for the city, according to the article, there was a 5-4 vote of the city council in favor of it, but there will be another vote next week and it must pass that one as well in order to become law. Here’s where it gets interesting.

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.

If you’re anything like I am, when I read that paragraph I was expecting a diatribe about the crazy, right-wing, religious fanatics who want video cameras in every bedroom. I was surprised to discover that the underlying issue for the opposition isn’t faith, morality, or tradition. It’s economics!

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.

We’ll be following this right here at The Curmudgeon. Personally, I’m always thrilled to discover that economics almost always sides with the traditional idea of morality.

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