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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) - The Chattanooga City Council has declined to reconsider a new law that allows health benefits for domestic partners of city employees.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports that because the council did not take up the issue on Tuesday, it will go to referendum in August during the general election.

In November, Chattanooga became the third city in Tennessee to vote to expand benefits to same-sex couples, after Collegedale and Knoxville.

Opponents of the law organized a petition drive immediately after the vote and gathered enough signatures to force the City Council either to revisit its vote or allow the issue to go to referendum. The council chose the latter option.