Pensacola – The Pensacola City Council has taken a step toward creating a domestic partner registry. The City Council Nov. 14 voted 7-1 to approve a first reading of the ordinance, with a second and final vote set for December.
The registry provides legal protections for things like medical emergencies and financial planning for couples who cannot get married under current law. As of right now, Pensacola’s registry does not limit itself to same-sex couples, and so heterosexual couples can access its protections.
Orlando attorney and LGBT activist Mary Meeks traveled to Pensacola to speak on behalf of the registry and assist with any legal questions. She said the council chambers were “standing room only in a sea of red,” as LGBTs and allies typically wear red to show their support at government meetings and other functions.
Meeks said no one spoke against the registry, not even the council member who voted against it.
“There was one council member who had expressed an unequivocal ‘no’ vote prior to the meeting, who announced at the meeting that he had changed his mind from all of the heartfelt testimony and the persistent lobbying by Sara Latshaw of the ACLU,” Meeks said.
Latshaw is the Northwest Florida Regional Director of the ACLU of Florida.
“As domestic partnership registries have been sweeping across the state, many in our city wondered when it would be our turn to take this important step,” Latshaw said in a media release. “The overwhelming show of support last night from both people in the community and the members of the city council proved that we are a city welcoming to everyone.”
Meeks called Pensacola “the reddest city to ever pass” a domestic partner registry.
“This is a tremendous win for our hometown and is the culmination of over a year of hard work from countless individuals in the community to make these important protections available to everyone in our city,” Latshaw said.
Pensacola City Councilmember Larry B. Johnson authored the ordinance.