When the Chattanooga City Council takes up a same-sex benefits proposal Tuesday, the nine members will do more than just vote. Each will make a statement about where he or she stands on one of the most controversial issues of the day -- one that divides churches and families.

Maybe their votes will make statements about religious beliefs and traditional values. Or perhaps about equality and civil rights, about a more welcoming and progressive city.

If the measure passes, Chattanooga will become only the third Tennessee city to extend city benefits to same-sex couples after Collegedale and Knoxville.

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