NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Nashville Mayor Karl Dean says offering benefits to the same sex partners of Metro employees is the right thing to do and is a matter of tolerance.
Dean told WPLN in Nashville he supports the idea as long as it makes financial sense for the city.
A panel is being formed to study the cost of such a policy change.
Dean, a Democrat, says he's not "driven by a political agenda."
Instead, Dean says, he's following the corporate world in liberalizing benefits policies will make the city more attractive. Dean cites the three T's coined by author Richard Florida, who says a flourishing city has technology, talent and tolerance.
"Tolerance is an important thing for a city to be great. And talent and technology can move around, and they're going to move around where there is tolerance and where a city is open and friendly, and I think Nashville is all of those things."
If the decision is made to move forward with benefits for same-sex couples, the mayor will have state lawmakers looking over his shoulder. Williamson County Republican Glen Casada says such a policy would have to be broadly written since the Tennessee constitution defines marriage as between one man and one woman.