SARASOTA – Residents of Sarasota are calling for the establishment of a “domestic registry” that would bestow rights upon both gay and straight couples in issues of healthcare, funeral decisions, and other matters. The gender-andsexual- orientation-neutral measure would grant to couples certain legal rights in a partner’s life, and would not challenge existing laws governing civil unions and gay marriage. not a marriage,” said business owner Grace Carlson at a Monday night meeting of the Sarasota City Commission.
“This is definition that is recognized by the state of Florida,” she added. “It’s defining a relationship between two loving, committed adults who share a residence and a common life, who provide and care for one another and immediate family members.” Carlson and former city commissioner Ken Shelin presented language for a proposed ordinance, which would then require public hearings before commissioners make their determination. The city currently recognizes domestic partnerships for city employees, under which couples can participate in health and life insurance coverage, among other benefits.
The Sarasota proposal defines domestic partners as “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.” According to U.S. Census data, more than 12 percent of American households have domestic partners, a five percent increase since the previous U.S. Census in 2000.