Preliminary results from Chattanooga, Tennessee indicate that the city’s residents have voted to repeal a city ordinance that extended essential non-discrimination protections to the city’s LGBT employees, as well as partner benefits for those who have same-sex spouses. The deeply disappointing result comes after a hard-fought campaign by a coalition of local, state and national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) organizations to defend the measure.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights organization, committed staff and financial support to the campaign to uphold the measure. That effort succeeded in building a broad and engaged pro-LGBT coalition in Tennessee, which will continue to push forward with efforts to expand equality across the state.
In response to the news, HRC’s Deputy Field Director Jeremy Pittman released the following statement:
“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.”
The Chattanooga City Council first passed the ordinance in November of 2013 by a 5-3 vote. HRC, our statewide ally the Tennessee Equality Project, and other LGBT groups stood with Mayor Andy Berke and others to support the measure. Unfortunately, opponents of the measure secured sufficient signatures to put it on the ballot earlier this year.