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YES Chattanooga turns out the vote for domestic partnership
If you’re reading this on Wednesday, Aug. 6, or Thursday, Aug. 7, and you’re a registered voter, you still have time to cast your vote on an issue that once again has turned the national eye on Chattanooga.
In fact, “The Nation Is Watching” is the theme of the media campaign the group “YES Chattanooga” launched last week to ask voters to retain the city’s domestic partners benefit ordinance.
To recap for anyone not following this closely: At the end of 2013, the city council voted to allow benefits to be awarded to gay and straight domestic partners of city employees. Conservative groups went into meltdown, and when the council again affirmed the ordinance, created a petition drive that placed a “yes” or “no” vote on the ordinance on the August primary ballot.
YES Chattanooga was formed to help inform voters about the ordinance. Last Friday night, according to organizers, more than 550 people attended a “March for Equality” downtown, and included representatives from St. Marks United Methodist Church, New Covenant Church of Chattanooga, The Rock Metropolitan Community Church, Agape Christian Church, Christ Episcopal, Grace Episcopal, Pilgrim Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, Relevant Church, Unitarian Universalist Church of Chattanooga, Chattanooga Humanist Assembly, Mercy Junction, Renaissance Presbyterian Church., St. Elmo United Methodist Church and Northminster Presbyterian.
Megan Hollenbeck, media coordinator for YES Chattanooga told us: “There is a very large community of people of faith that supports this measure. Area churches are stepping up because it’s a question of social justice.”
Hollenbeck notes that as the city grows, and ever more national and international attention is directed on it, that Chattanooga has a choice: Stay mired in the discriminatory past, or move forward into the inclusive future. Businesses considering a move to the area will look at whether the city is keeping pace with the rest of the nation or clinging to views espoused by a rapidly shrinking number of people.
YES Chattanooga volunteer Kat Cooper said, “We have moved our ‘Get Out the Vote’ operations to St. Marks United Methodist Church on Mississippi Avenue in St. Elmo. Any Chattanoogan that believes in fairness and equality and wants to help us with this final push should feel free to join us there on Wednesday from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. On Election Day, August 7, we will be at Renaissance Presbyterian Church on Boynton Drive all day.”
There are many other reasons why this primary is not one to miss. If you didn’t early vote, there’s still time to make your voice heard. In the famous words of Gandhi, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”