During First Week, 42 Couples Register for Pinellas County DPR

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A week after Pinellas County opened its domestic partner registry, 42 couples had signed on to receive a handful of protections offered on a county-wide level.

According to the Pinellas Clerk of Courts, 30 of those couples were gay or lesbian and 12 were heterosexual, unmarried couples.

The day the registry opened, April 15, only one couple had signed up for the registry by noon, which surprised county officers, who had scheduled extra workers in the morning to assist with the expected rush.

The countywide registry granting a handful of rights to couples—gay and straight—who are not married opened exactly three months after the county voted 6-1 to approve it on Jan. 15. Several cities within the county—St. Petersburg, Gulfport and Clearwater—approved registries last year. Those heavily LGBT-populated areas saw a surge in registrants when they first offered them. Those who have already registered within their respective cities can also register with the county, for a reduced fee.

Couples taking advantage of the Pinellas County DPR can do so at a number of locations— the Clearwater Courthouse, both the North County and St. Petersburg branch offices, and the Tyrone Branch office.

Both parties must be present at the time of registration and a fee of $50 is due at the time of registration. Those who have previously registered in one of the cities within Pinellas County may pay a reduced fee. It is recommended that previously-registered applicants bring their certificate from the appropriate city.

The only commissioner to vote against the registry in January was Norm Roche.

The new ordinance will not protect couples who are in counties that do not recognize domestic partnerships, but it will cover all of Pinellas County. A statewide registry, which advanced out of committee in Tallahassee, is needed in order to protect partners across the Sunshine State.

From our media partner WatermarkSteve Blanchard, Watermark