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Domestic Partnership Vote Is Thursday

Thursday, the council will vote after a public hearing of the ordinance to create a domestic partnership registry in St. Pete.

In May, sitting as the Public Services and Infrastructure Committee, the council voted unanimously to have the ordinance to create a domestic partnership registry be up for a vote by City Council. 

Thursday, the council will vote after a public hearing of the ordinance. 

“Whether judgmentally you think it’s good or not, the fact is, 12 percent of America identified themselves as living in this type of situation,” Council member Charlie Gerdes said at the May committee meeting. “Humans are humans, and they deserve equal dignity, regardless.”

Assistant City Attorney Jeannine Williams said the ordinance would grant six rights. 

  1. Health-care visitations.
  2. Health-care decision should a partner become incapacitated.
  3. Funeral/Burial decisions.
  4. Become part of required notifications in emergency situations
  5. Declared “pre-need” guardian.
  6. Education rights and decisions of partner’s dependent, as long as no objection from the biological parent.

During May's meeting concerns were expressed about the parental rights and logistics for the registry. 

Council member Jim Kennedy strongly questioned unintended outcomes in regards to domestic partnership rights with children. The draft would allow the partner rights to participate in the education of a dependent in the partnership unless the biological parent objects.

Kennedy, who supports the registry, questioned how the biological parent would know that another person has been granted rights to deal with his or her child’s education.

The city's legal team has added five amendments to the proposed ordinance. 

  • Both domestic partners must reside within the city limits of St. Petersburg.
  • All Rights, privileges and benefits extended to registered domestic partnerships will also be extended to domestic partnerships registered in other jurisdictions. If any conflict occurs between jurisdictions, the city code provisions will govern in the city.
  • Upon termination of a registered domestic partnership, a certificate of termination will be issued to each partner.
  • Align the exercise of rights of a domestic partner to participate in the education of a dependent of the domestic partnership with policies and procedures of the Pinellas County School District. Florida Statutes, the city said, define the term "parent" broadly and often applies to adults who are not the biological parent. 
  • Nothing in the ordinance shall be construed as creating any third-party rights or actions or construed as imposing any liability upon a domestic partner for any expenses of his or her domestic partner.

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