Still think your vote doesn’t count? Chattanooga, Tennessee’s LGBT city workers just lost their domestic partner benefits, for lack of a mere 6,001 votes in a city of 171,279 people.
The domestic partner benefits ordinance had gone into effect this year, but the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — an LGBT rights group — reports it just got voted down. The last voting day of the special election was held on Saturday, August 2, but the election results were still rolling in on Wednesday, August 7.
Jerry Pittman, a deputy field director for the HRC gave this crushing defeat an optimistic spin:
“Despite this hurtful and disappointing result tonight, we know that fair-minded Chattanoogans and people across Tennessee are ready to keep fighting until full equality reaches every corner of the state and every corner of this country. As LGBT equality moves forward across this country, this work isn’t over until every American can expect the same decent treatment under the law.”
Given demographic trends and the fact that this defeat is likely to mobilize the gay community and its supporters, Pittman may be right.
The Yes Tennessee campaign added via their Facebook page, “Despite tonight’s result, the fight for equality continues in Tennessee.”
The ordinance’s Teabagger opponents won, in part,, because they suddenly acquired a warm affinity and heartfelt concern for the poor. In fact, they vociferously claimed Chattanooga’s low income folks could not possibly afford the tax increases required.
In an op-ed for the Chattanooga Free Press, Mark West from the anti-government group, Citizens for Government Accountability and Transparency, wrote:
“At a time when the city’s budget is under constant strain and there are regular efforts to minimize costs, it is irresponsible to extend benefits to a new group of individuals who are not even related to a city employee.”
That excuse is totally lame. Chattanooga’s gay workers would already be receiving these benefits automatically, if their state allowed them to marry. Plus, other U.S. cities find money to provide health, retirement, and other benefits for all their workers’ families.
But these right-wingers love pitting all of us against each other in a desperate fight for survival, while the wealthy oligarchs rob us of all our money, labor, and natural resources.
Alas, Chattanooga’s anti-gay Teabaggers got out the vote.
The truly scary thing is the real reason those mean, white, aging, anti-gay bigots won is because they did a better job getting out the vote.
In a city of 171,279 people — 84,778 of whom are of voting age — only 22,000 showed up. 14,000 of them voted down the domestic partner ordinance, 8,000 turned out to support it, and the remaining 62,778 eligible voters didn’t show up. If only 6,001 non-haters had understood the high stakes involved in this special election, the families of these LGBT workers would still be covered. [Source: SuburbanStats.Org]
Oh, and these people who suddenly no longer have health coverage can’t turn to Obamacare either: Tennessee’s one of the troglodyte states that turned down the Medicaid Expansion.
Featured photo: YES Chattanooga.