Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn put pen to paper this morning and signed a domestic partnership registry into law, just two weeks after it received final approval from the City Council.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢”šÂ¬Ã…”This is a community that treats everyone with dignity,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢”šÂ¬Ã‚Â Buckhorn said after signing the ordinance. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢”šÂ¬Ã…”We are a city that celebrates our diversity as a strength. It's a competitive advantage for me to go out and talk about relocating companies here. It's important because it doesn't demonize people based on ethnicity, orientation, race or creedÃƒÂ¢Ã¢”šÂ¬”it celebrates it.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢”šÂ¬Ã‚Â
Buckhorn was all smiles as he signed on the lineÃƒÂ¢Ã¢”šÂ¬”several times and with several different pensÃƒÂ¢Ã¢”šÂ¬”creating the city's first registry recognizing unmarried couples. The new ordinance, which takes effect in 90 days, will allow for unmarried couplesÃƒÂ¢Ã¢”šÂ¬”both gay and straightÃƒÂ¢Ã¢”šÂ¬”to be protected in cases of medical emergencies and end-of life circumstances.
Several media outlets were on hand to record the moment, and Equality Florida communications director Brian Winfield was also present, along with Mark Bias and Carrie West of the GaYbor District Coalition.
Also at Buckhorn's side was councilwoman Yolie Capin, who first introduced the registry back in February. Couples can register as domestic partners the first week of July.