US: Mayor in Tennessee offers support for health benefits for gay partners of city employees

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The mayor of a city in the US state of Tennessee has thrown his support behind a push towards providing equal health benefits for same-sex partners of city employees.

Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke, offered his support to the idea, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reported.

Despite the state not legally recognising same-sex marriages, the measure would extend the benefits to same-sex couples in the city, which has a population of around 167,000, and is the fourth largest in the state.

Chattanooga is not the first in the state to attempt to offer such benefits, as last month Collegedale, offered equal benefits to same-sex domestic partners of city workers.

The city of Collegedale, which has a population of about 6,500 adopted the measure. The City Commission members voted 4-1 in favour of the legislation, which allows equal benefits to the domestic partners of employees of the city.

Similar measures are underway in Nashville, Knoxville and Memphis, the Free Press reported.