Florida’s Pinellas County Approves Domestic Partner Registry
Pinellas County joins the list of Florida cities and counties that have approved domestic partner registries.
On Jan. 15, county commissioners voted 6-1 to approve the measure, which will give gay couples, among others, legal recognition of their relationships, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
While the domestic partner registry doesn’t equate marriage rights, gay couples who register would be able to make decisions for one another regarding health care or funeral services.
The registry takes effect in 10 days, but couples won’t be able to register until about 90 days because the county is still working to set up a database, according to the Times. Registration is expected to cost $50.
Broward, Miami-Dade, Orange, Palm Beach, and Volusia counties, along with several cities, already offer domestic registries in Florida.
Some Pinellas County commissioners believe this recognition could help build enough momentum to pressure the Florida Legislature to pass a statewide domestic partner registry ordinance.
“Would I prefer that the Florida legislature take the lead and do this? Yeah,” said Commissioner Charlie Justice told the Times.
Sen. Eleanor Sobel, D-Hollywood, recently introduced a bill that would allow LGBT Floridians to enter into a domestic partnership no matter what county laws say about such union.
A December 2012 poll shows that attitudes toward gay marriage in Florida seem to be slowly changing. The survey by Quinnipiac University of 1,261 registered voters found that 45 percent oppose gay marriage while 43 percent support it. In May of the same year 50 percent opposed same-sex marriage.