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Chattanooga Domestic Partner Bill Gets Initial OK

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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — Chattanooga's City Council has narrowly given initial approval to a measure to extend benefits to domestic partners.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press says a packed crowd was on hand for the 5-4 vote on the first reading of the bill Tuesday night.

The measure would make Chattanooga the third city in Tennessee to expand benefits to same-sex couples, after Collegedale and Knoxville.

Councilman Chris Anderson urged approval of the issue, saying it would not threaten others' religious freedom.

Councilman Russell Gilbert said he was voting against the bill because he believes marriage is sacred and because the city can't afford it, from his district's perspective.