Wednesday, June 18, 2014

How the Council voted on same-sex Metro benefits & who simply did not vote.

On July 3rd the Metro Council passed a bill on second reading that would extend metro benefits to the domestic partner of same-sex couples.  The measure is estimated to cost between $400,000 and $900,000 a year.  While the cost is reason enough to oppose the measure, in my view a more compelling reason is that we should not be normalizing what is a perverted life style.  We should not treat as if married, two homosexuals who live together.  If we wanted to say that any two people who share a household and have financial entanglement could be treated the same as a married couple, then I would have less problem with the bill.  I am sure that among Metro's employees, there is a son caring for his elderly mother who lives with him, or there is a mother carrying for her disabled son who lives wither her, or there are two "old maids" who share expenses but do not share sex. If we want to extend this service to people who may be dependent on each other, why is it contingent that they have a sexual relationship?

The vote to approve the bill was 25 in favor, 6 opposed, and 3 voting to abstain.

 BILL NO. BL2014-779

An ordinance amending Title 3 of the Metropolitan Code to provide domestic partner benefits for Metropolitan Government employees. The bill was approved by the Budget and Finance Committee and Personnel-Public Information-Human Resources-Housing Committees. Mr. Westerholm moved to pass the bill on second reading, which motion was seconded and adopted by a the following roll call vote: “Ayes” Barry, Steine, Garrett, Tygard, Matthews, Harrison, Hunt, Banks, Scott Davis, Westerholm, Anthony Davis, Stanley, Moore, Allen, Gilmore, Baker, Evans, Holleman, McGuire, Harmon, Johnson, Potts, Bedne, Todd, Mitchell (25); “Noes” Pridemore, Pardue, Glover, Stites, Claiborne, Dominy (6); “Abstaining” Bennett, Blalock, Dowell (3).
Bill Pridemore
voted NO
Doug Pardue
voted NO
I am extremely proud of those six who voted "No" and want to put a picture with the face.  I am especially proud of the stand and comments made by Josh Sites.
Josh Stites
voted NO
Steve Glover
voted NO
Phil Clairborne
voted NO
Duane Dominy
voted NO
Three Council members voted to abstain. I do not understand a vote to abstain.  I think on controversial issues one should get off the fence and state how they stand.  Sometimes one votes to abstain when they have a conflict of interest. If a council member works for a company that is seeking a zone change, then a vote to abstain is appropriate, or if one has some other conflict of interest. On a bill like these there is no logic to a vote to abstain. Of the three abstentions  Karen Bennett and Davette Blalock who are both Republicans are very disappointing. I am not familiar enough with Jacobia Dowell to know how she would have voted, had she voted. I emailed Karen Bennett and Davette Blalock to give them a chance to tell me why they abstained, but I did not hear from either of them.

 Here are the pictures of those who chose to not take a stand and voted to abstain. 
Jacobia Dowell
Karen Bennett
Davette Blalock

Twenty-five of the Council members voted "yes."  Many of them are obviously liberals and I am not surprised. Some of them I don't know well enough to have guessed how they would have voted. Some of them however disappoint me in how they voted. Maybe my evaluation of them was wrong, but these are the Councilman who disappointment. I am especially disappointing in Charlie Tygerd, and Carter Todd both of whom are Republicans.  

Here are the "yes" votes that either surprised me or disappointed me.

Charlie Tygard
voted YES
Emily Evans
voted YES
Carter Todd
voted YES
Tim Garrett
voted YES

There is one vacancy in the Council and Council Member Edith Langster was absent for the whole meeting. Other Council Member who did not vote at all and were present at least for part of the meeting were Jerry Maynard, Tony Tenpenny, Sheri Weiner and Robert Duvall. I do not know if Mr. Maynard was present for this vote or not. This vote was near the end of agenda and the meeting was almost five hours long, so he may have not been present and had a legitimate reason.  I did speak to Councilman Tenpenny, Sheri Weiner, and Robert Duvall. They all had left the meeting early with very legitimate reason. Council member Sheri Weiner had a health issue and Councilman Robert Duvall and Councilman Tony Tenpenny had family emergencies. I won't go into details but they all did what they needed to do by leaving early. All three told me that had they been there they would have been "no" votes and that they will continue to oppose this effort.

As disappointing as I am in those who I expected to be "no's" who voted yes and those who abstained, I am disappointed in the Christian community and those who advocate traditional values. The Social Conservatives were AWOL on this issue. Had the three who abstained voted "no" and the two of the four disappointing "yes's" voted "no" and Weiner, Tenpenny and Duvall been present, the vote would have been to 23 to 14. If there would have been a campaign from advocates of traditional values to stop this, I believe five more votes could have been switched and it could have been killed. An outpouring of opposition could still stop this between now and June 17th.

If anyone, I mentioned in this blog post would like to explain your vote or your abstention, please feel free to leave a comment, or email me and I will post your explanation.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories


  1. Rod, thanks very much for the details. I was very curious about Duvall's name not appearing on any of the lists, and disturbed that he wasn't among the "no" votes.

    1. Thank you, As stated near the end of the article, Robert Duvall had left the meeting early due to a family emergency. As some of you may know, Councilman Duvall's wife has Alzheimer's and other ailments and has been very sick recently. He was needed at home and left the meeting early.