Osceola County to consider domestic partnership registry

By : Alex Storer
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Officials at Orlando Regional Medical Center — where many victims of the Pulse shooting were treated — refused to disclose medical information to the gay partners of some of those wounded in the attack, according to Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer.

The hospital cited the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, as the reason. HIPAA is a 1996 law designed to protect citizens’ rights to privacy about their medical information.

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Rep. Grayson urges Orange County to keep domestic partner benefits

By : Jamie Hyman
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Congressman Alan Grayson is urging the Orange County Commission and Mayor Teresa Jacobs to reinstate domestic partner benefits for county employees.

In a unanimous, consent agenda vote, the Commissioners on Oct. 20 quietly voted to repeal the domestic partner benefits.

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St. Pete earns first perfect score on HRC’s 2014 municipal equality index

By : Staff Report
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St. Petersburg – For the first time, St. Petersburg outranked the City of Tampa on the Human Rights Campaign Municipal Equality Index. St. Petersburg earned a 100% rating, up more than 50 points from a year ago. Tampa earned a respectable 97%.

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman told Watermark over the summer that one of his goals was to boost St. Petersburg’s ranking on the annual index, which consistently ranked St. Petersburg low in previous years. Tampa has had consistently higher rankings even before Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn took office. His predecessor, Mayor
Pam Iorio, was an advocate for LGBT rights and pushed for domestic partnership benefits for city employees in the early 2000s.

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Top 5 Tampa Bay news stories of 2013

By : Staff Report
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Hillsborough County Commission
The commission inspired one of our more powerful covers in 2013 when it voted Jan. 24 4-3 to reject a domestic partnership registry that would have granted a handful of rights to unmarried couples living within Hillsborough County. The same commission, however, voted June 5 to repeal an eight-year-old ordinance that prohibited county officials from recognizing LGBT Pride celebrations. It was a one-step backward, one step forward kind of year for the controversial commission.

Pinellas County Commission passes DPR
With only one dissenting vote, the Pinellas County Commission voted overwhelmingly in favor of a countywide domestic partnership registry on Jan. 15. Newly elected commissioners helped push the majority vote, which was made after residents debated both sides of the issue for several hours. The one commissioner not in favor of granting a handful or rights to co-habiting, unmarried couples in the county was Norm Roche.

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Pensacola approves domestic partner registry 8-1

By : Susan Clary
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Pensacola – In a historic vote, the Pensacola City Council approved a domestic partnership registry at its Dec. 12 meeting. It is the first city west of Tallahassee to pass an ordinance, offering cohabiting, unmarried couples both gay and straight to register as domestic partner for a small fee.

The ordinance, sponsored by Councilman Larry Johnson, will give registered couples a number of small, but important rights. Those include: the ability to make medical and funeral decisions for each other, visit one another in the hospital or prison and participate in the education of mutual children. Registered domestic partners will be automatically notified in case of an emergency.

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Sarasota County on track to offer domestic partnership registry

By : Jamie Hyman
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Sarasota – Sarasota County is one step closer to become the ninth Florida county to create a domestic partnership registry thanks to a vote by the county commission on Nov. 6. Many credit the progress to a recent case in Venice, where a homeowners association attempted to ban non-married couples from living within its complex.

Like other ordinances already active in the state, this one allows couples hospital visitation rights, the ability to make medical decisions for one another and to create funeral arrangements. A domestic partnership registry is already active within the City of Sarasota.

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