Citizens for Government Accountability & Transparency and several area churches are joining together to host a forum focusing on a proposed domestic partner ordinance that has divided Christians from secularists and drawn fault lines between liberal and conservative wings of Christianity.
The proposal is being pushed by a gay council member, Chris Anderson, with the support of Mayor Andy Berke. These two and eight other members of the council are invited to the Nov. 14 event at Westview Elementary (a Thursday night), according to Mark West, president of Chattanooga Tea Party.
Since the proposal to extend marital health benefits to same-sex or domestic partners was announced, there have been hundreds of individuals who have attended the weekly city council meetings to express their views over the idea. Area residents at an extended Tuesday council meeting were given three minutes each to express views on the proposal.
But that was not real interaction, Mr. West said. “For this reason, Citizens for Government Accountability and Transparency and area churches seek to facilitate the discussion and offer an opportunity for citizens to pose questions and solicit answers from their elected officials,” Mr. West said.
“Given the tight budgetary constraints that our city continues to face, we believe that our elected officials should carefully examine the cost implications of expanding benefits to an entirely new segment of non-employees while pensions costs continue to climb and are underfunded by a significant amount,” Mr. West said.
“Furthermore, there are many citizens who believe that a decision of this magnitude should be posed to the community at large by referendum rather than being made by a simple majority council vote, or as few as five individuals.”
Voters and residents are invited and will be offered ample opportunity to pose questions to their elected officials. Additional information can be found at CGAT’s Facebook page
Mr. West said Citizens for Government Accountability & Transparency is a political action committee dedicated to promoting and supporting limited government, fiscal conservatism and free markets by pursuing the values and principles embodied within the U.S. and Tennessee constitutions.