The city commission of Collegedale, Tenn., will vote today, Aug. 5, on a proposal to extend family benefits to city employees in same-sex marriages. Tennessee does not recognize same-sex marriage, so if the resolution passes, Collegedale would be the first town in the state to to offer government benefits to same-sex couples.
From the Chattanooga Times Free Press article,
[Collegedale City Commissioner Katie] Lamb, a member of the SDA church who formerly taught at the university, said the vote reflects a shift in thought among younger Adventists, and in shifting Collegedale demographics.
“As the city has grown — as more individuals have moved in and as the university has grown — I think that you see people looking at things from a different perspective than the ultraconservatism that was here when I first moved here,” said Lamb. “It is still very much conservative, but I think they are more open to change.”
Commissioner Larry Hanson, also an Adventist and former professor at the university, said he has seen varied opinions among church members.
“We have a very conservative element in the church, and we have a very liberal element in the church, and it runs the gamut here. We have some people who think this is turning Collegedale into Sodom and Gomorrah,” he said. “Others tell me, ‘Hey, you’re a city commissioner. You’re not representing the Adventist church in that job. You have to do what’s in the best interest for the city, not for your beliefs as an Adventist.’”
The proposal would mean that,
• Collegedale employees who are legally married in any state that recognizes their marriage will be provided spousal and family health insurance.
• Any employee seeking such coverage must produce an official marriage document of the state in which they were married to the Human Resources Manager.
• This policy will go into effect at the beginning of the next renewal period of the city’s employee health insurance program, which is in January.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/5431