Leon County eyes domestic partner ordinance

By : Staff Report
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The county that surrounds Florida’s Capital City could bring forward a domestic partner registry March 12, and early indications are that a majority of its commissioners support the measure.

The measure, proposed by Commissioner Mary Ann Lindley would extend benefits, similar to those that married couple’s get, to those who are registered with the domestic partnership registry, gay or straight.

“The county council finds that there are many individuals who establish and maintain a significant personal and economic relationship with another individual,” the ordinance reads. “Individual forming such domestic partnership often live in a committed domestic relationship. Domestic partners are often denied certain benefits and rights because there is no established system for such relationships to be registered or recognized.”

As it has been done in other Florida counties, area residents are invited for public comment during the meeting, scheduled for 6 p.m. March 12. If it is approved, the handful of rights extended to those participating would include hospital and jail visitation and access to each other’s children in the public school system.

What it does not do, however, is define a relationship as a marriage or bestow the some 1,400 rights granted to heterosexual, married couples in Florida.

Equality Florida is encouraging those who support a county domestic partner registry to attend the meeting and wear red.

Leon County’s ordinance is modeled after those that have passed in Volusia, Orange, and Pinellas Counties and in the cities of Gainesville, Sarasota, Orlando, Tampa and St. Petersburg.

The meeting will be held at 301 S. Monroe Street, Tallahassee, in the county chambers on the fifth floor.

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