Gulfport is the first city in Pinellas County – and the 11th municipality in the state – to create a domestic partnership registry.
Tonight, the Gulfport City Council voted 5-0 to pass ordinance 2012-10.
Mayor Mike Yakes will publicly sign the ordinance into law Wednesday morning at 9 a.m. in front of Gulfport City Hall.
The creation of a domestic partnership registry in Gulfport grants unmarried couples, gay and straight, rights when making education choices for children, emergency medical decisions, end-of-life and funeral arrangements.
"This is a step in the right direction, we are making a big statement," Councilor Barbara Banno said.
"This is about people, people's right of choice and people's right of assignment of that choice," Mayor Mike Yakes said.
Councilor Dan Liedtke said that he hopes the momentum and passion for the registry spreads to the county and state level. Liedtke said he voted "no" during the first reading because he didn't want people to register and feel that they had done everything necessary to obtain rights.
During the discussion, Banno reminded couples to get a power of attorney and health care surrogate to ensure they've done all they can.
“We are going to be a leader in this county and send a loud and clear message," Gulfport resident Jan Lowe said.
“Today, we will celebrate another historic move by the City of Gulfport towards civil rights to all,” Denise Lowe said.
“I stand before you as a proud and happy citizen of Gulfport. I see this as a very proactive and a very positive thing to do,” Mark L. Grantham said.
“We may not always agree on everything, but when it comes to equality, this community stands proud and they stand together,” Doug Hudson said.
Gulfport Patch will have more details from supporters Wednesday morning.
About the ordinance:
The domestic partnership registry is modeled after the Orlando ordinance with elements of the Key West ordinance. The fee is $25 per couple and does not require both people to sign the declaration in the presence of the city clerk. The couple may drop off or mail in a notarized declaration.
It specifies the following rights and legal effects:
- Health Care Facility Visitation
- Health Care Decisions
- Funeral/burial Decisions
- Notification of Family Members
- Preneed guardian designation
- Participation in Education
According to the ordinance, domestic partners are two adults who have chosen to share one another's lives in a family relationship. Two persons are considered to be domestic partners if:
- They consider themselves to be members of each other's immediate family.
- They agree to be jointly responsible for each other's welfare.
- Neither of them is married under the laws of the State of Florida, is a member of another domestic partnership, or civil union with anyone other than the co-applicant.
- They are not blood related in a way that would prevent them from being married to each other under Florida state law.
- Each is at least 18 years of age and competent to contract.
- They each have signed a declaration of domestic partnership as provided for in section 26-45.
For more information about the registry, view Ordinance 2012-10 attached to this story.