News Sunshine State

Florida Democrats File Domestic Partnership Legislation

Written by Agenda Florida
TALLAHASSEE – Sen. Eleanor Sobel (D-Hollywood) and Rep. Evan Jenne (D-Hollywood) filed legislation Friday (HB 1275 & SB 1666) that would create a statewide domestic partnership registry offering a defined set of legal rights and protections to unmarried couples who participate. Even as marriage has finally become an option for all couples, there are many practical reasons for why many decide not to marry. Rights and protections offered in the legislation include: advanced health care and end-of-life decisions; facility visitation; emergency notification; joint property, estate and inheritance; funeral and burial; and wrongful death. Similar versions of the legislation have been introduced in previous sessions.

Equality Florida’s CEO Nadine Smith said, “Equality Florida applauds Sen. Sobel and Rep. Jenne for standing firm in their support of domestic partner registries. Even as marriages are now taking place for same-sex couples, domestic partner benefits continue to ensure that all Florida’s families will be treated fairly. By offering a domestic partner registry, our state can demonstrate its respect for the broad diversity of families that exists here. Expanding domestic partnership protections statewide is a matter of fundamental fairness and inclusion.”

“Domestic partnerships are an important legal tool that provide protections for unmarried couples, both same-sex and opposite-sex,” added Sobel. “In fact, two-thirds of those who rely on domestic partner benefits are opposite-sex couples. Many of them seniors who do not wish to remarry. Families come in all shapes and sizes, and what is right for some may not be right for others- but all families deserve to be able to care for one another.”

“Expanding domestic partnership laws honor the many family structures that exist today and respect the important personal and practical considerations that factor into a couple’s decision not to marry,” Jenne said. “It ensures that families are not cut off from essential benefits like health insurance and vital legal protections like the right to make health care decisions for an incapacitated partner.”

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