Domestic Parity

Will the City of Knoxville's gay employees soon have benefits, including health care, for their domestic partners? It certainly looks like it's getting closer to happening.

Last month the tiny, Seventh-Day Adventist city of Collegedale overwhelmingly voted to pass domestic partner benefits, making it the first city in Tennessee to do so. The Family Action Council of Tennessee's David Fowler is all up in arms, saying the action violates the state's (probably totally unconstitutional) ban on gay marriage, but his entreaties to get Attorney General Bob Cooper to do something about it seem to be falling on deaf ears.

Meanwhile, Chattanooga's first openly gay City Council member, Chris Anderson, is working on introducing a measure similar to Collegedale's; Mayor Andy Berke seems likely to support it. Anderson was in town last week for a fund-raiser for state Rep. Gloria Johnson, and Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero stopped to chat with him. Why? To get the details on Anderson's proposed ordinance.

It looks like Rogero isn't going to wait out her reelection before taking a major step forward for civil rights in Knoxville.