Recall effort launched against gay Chattanooga councilman

Last fall, Chattanooga city councilman Chris Anderson led a move to pass a city ordinance extending benefits to the domestic partners of city employees, including those in same-sex relationships. The Extended Benefits and Equity Ordinance passed 5-4 in November and was welcomed by the mayor. In praising the measure, Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke echoed the sentiments of city executives around the state: “In the 21st century, we must ensure we attract talented employees and remain competitive.... That means hiring employees based on merit and offering a benefits package that retains and recruits the very best employees possible."

By December, however, the city was forced to stop enrollment for domestic partners in benefits, as a local group, Citizens for Government Accountability and Transparency, managed to get enough signatures on a petition to put the issue on the ballot for voters to approve. Supporters of the petition drive, leaders of which have strong ties to tea party politics, point to the ease of collecting signatures as a sign of the unpopularity of the measure. At the time, Councilman Anderson, as reported in theChattanooga Times Free Press said that he felt that the petition drive didn’t reflect the will of the people as its backers claimed. “I think it’s a very small minority of people in the city of Chattanooga, many of whom were misled into signing.” He also expressed confidence that the measure would pass a popular vote.

By mid January, it became clear that opponents of the measure were not satisfied with bringing the issue of domestic partner benefits before the voting populace - they intended to target Chris Anderson, Chattanooga’s first openly gay elected official, directly. A small group of citizens presented yet another petition, this time to the Hamilton County Election Commission, beginning the formal procedure to recall Anderson. With the approval of the Commission, the group would then have 75 days to collect the signatures of about 1,800 District 7 residents. The group complained that Anderson has ignored his district’s needs in order to pursue “matters Mr. Anderson considered more important.”

One of the men delivering the petition, Mahmood Abdullah, stated plainly, “"He doesn't represent what the people want.... His only goal is to boost homosexuality." Further calling the recall into question is the role of Charles Wynsong in the recall petition drive: Wynsong is not a District 7 resident, but he was part of the initial drive to block the city ordinance extending domestic partner benefits.

Anderson has stood strong. "I knew when I ran for public office that I would have to make decisions that were politically difficult," he wrote in an email to the Times Free Press. "If you want to recall me over the equal rights of the public servants that work so hard for the City of Chattanooga, bring it on." More recently, Councilman Anderson has decided to take the offensive against what seems to be a bias-motivated recall.

On February 18, 2014, Anderson filed suit to have the petition thrown out, pointing to the bias behind it and claiming that it represents a violation of his rights. Anderson's attorney, Stuart James, said, "It's discriminatory. It's our position that under the constitution you can't call a recall election" on that basis. The lawsuit seeks an order to halt the petition drive while the courts rule on the petition’s status. While a great deal rests on the outcome of the lawsuit, the success of the recall position then leads to a recall vote at the ballots, and according to state law, a successful recall of a city councilperson requires that “sixty-six percent (66%) of those voters [who vote] vote ‘for recall’” (Tenn. Code Ann. §6-31-307). So Councilman Anderson’s political fate may not be determined in the near future.

WhistlePig + Alfa Romeo F1

SHOREHAM, VT (September 13, 2023) — WhistlePig Whiskey, the leaders in independent craft whiskey, and Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake are waving the checkered flag on a legend-worthy release that’s taking whiskey to G-Force levels. The Limited Edition PiggyBack Legends Series: Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake Barrel is a high Rye Whiskey selected by the Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake drivers, with barrels trialed in their wind tunnel to ensure a thrilling taste in every sip.

The third iteration in WhistlePig’s Single Barrel PiggyBack Legends Series, the Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake Barrel is bottled at 96.77 proof, a nod to Valtteri Bottas’ racing number, 77, and the precision of racing. Inspired by Zhou Guanyu, the first Chinese F1 driver, this Rye Whiskey is finished with lychee and oolong tea. Herbal and floral notes of the oolong tea complement the herbaceous notes of WhistlePig’s signature PiggyBack 100% Rye, rounded out with a juicy tropical fruit finish and a touch of spice.

Keep readingShow less
by Spectrum Medical Care Center

Nurse Practitioner Ari Kravitz

When I started medical transition at 20 years old, it was very difficult to get the care I needed for hormone replacement therapy because there are very few providers trained in starting hormones for trans people, even though it’s very similar to the hormones that we prescribe to women in menopause or cisgender men with low testosterone.

I hope more providers get trained in LGBTQ+ healthcare, so they can support patients along their individual gender journey, and provide the info needed to make informed decisions about their body. I’ve personally seen my trans patients find hope and experience a better quality of life through hormone replacement therapy.

Keep readingShow less

Descanso Resort swimming pool and lounge area

Descanso Resort, Palm Springs' premier destination for gay men, just received Tripadvisor's highest honor, a Travelers' Choice "Best of the Best" award for 2023. Based on guests' reviews and ratings, fewer than 1% of Tripadvisor's 8 million listings around the world receive the coveted "Best of the Best" designation. Descanso ranked 12th in the top 25 small inns and hotels category in the United States. Quite an accomplishment!

Open less than two years, Descanso Resort offers gay men a relaxing and luxurious boutique hotel experience just minutes away from Palm Springs' buzziest restaurants, nightclubs, and shopping. Descanso has quickly established itself as a top destination for sophisticated gay travelers, earning hundreds of 5-star guest reviews and consistently ranking in Trapadvisor's top positions alongside brother properties Santiago Resort and Twin Palms Resort.

Keep readingShow less